Egypt negotiates 25 million-euro grant with EU, World Bank

Egypt has negotiated a 25 million-euro grant for development projects with the European Union and World Bank, an official with the government-affiliated Social Fund for Development said Friday.

Medhat Massoud, the assistant director of the fund's department of social and human development, said the grant will be allocated to development projects in five Upper Egyptian governorates over the next four years.

The governorates will be determined according to a map created by the Social Fund for Development, which ranks Upper Egyptian villages by level of poverty and need for development funds, Massoud told reporters.

“The grant will be used to implement infrastructure projects in many fields, including health, education and environment,” said Massoud, adding that the government will cooperate with NGOs on the projects with complete transparency.

The most important element of these projects is that they will be local, Massoud pointed out, with representative committees from civil society organizations being established in villages to identify their problems and priorities and help village residents develop comprehensive plans to address them.

Addressing the EU's current fiscal crisis and its potential impact on the grant, Massoud said, “The European Union places a priority on funding southern Mediterranean states, including Egypt.”

The cabinet of former Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, who resigned last month, attempted to use foreign funds to balance Egypt's budget deficit, but met strong opposition from the ruling military council.

It is “too early” to know whether Egypt will need to obtain an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan to remedy its poor economic situation, said new Finance Minister Momtaz El-Said last Saturday.

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