Signature of the Gabal Al Asfar Wastewater treatment plant Phase III : An Impactful Partnership between Egypt, France and the EU for Sustainable Water Management

By Manal Abdel Fattah

HE Dr. Rania Al Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, signed on March 25th the Gabal Al Asfar Phase III Financing Agreement with HE Eric Chevallier, Ambassador of France to Egypt and Mrs Clémence Vidal de la Blache, AFD Country Director, in the presence of Olivier Richard, Deputy Director General of Global Affairs at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and HE Christian Berger, Head of the European Union Delegation in Egypt.

The Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities (MoHUUC) is implementing the project through the Construction Authority for Potable Water & Wastewater (CAPW) with the support of France, through AFD, the European Union (EU), and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

This collaboration will extend the biggest wastewater treatment plant in Egypt to serve 17, 5 million inhabitants of Cairo until 2040 with advanced wastewater collection and treatment services.

This third phase of extension will increase the treatment capacity by 1,000,000 m3/day and address current and future demographic pressure on Cairo’s sanitation services, pressures that have adverse environmental and sanitary impacts downstream.

The plant will be one of the first in Egypt to implement advanced technology in the form of tertiary treatment to enable further use of treated wastewater in irrigation.

The project significantly contributes to Egypt’s climate change adaptation targets, through the development of non-conventional water sources (treated wastewater) for irrigation.

Finally, the plant will produce renewable energy (biogas) through sludge treatment, with an ambitious goal of covering 80% of its electricity needs, reducing both the carbon footprint and the utility bills of the project.

It is an exemplar illustration of the benefits of a circular economy approach to sanitation services.

HE Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat said: “In conjunction with World Water Day, and within the framework of the Team Europe initiative, the European Union is providing a grant worth € 10 million, and the French side is providing a grant worth € 1.5 million, in addition to soft development financing for the implementation of the third phase of the Gabal Al Asfar Wastewater Treatment Plant.

This is one of the largest Wastewater treatment plants in Egypt and works to enhance efforts to adapt to climate change, within the framework of the Government of Egypt’s vision to enhance water resources, provide arable water and improve the lives of citizens.

The current portfolio of the Ministry of International Cooperation includes projects worth $5 billion to implement the SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation.”

HE Ambassador Chevallier highlighted: “A week after Egypt and the EU jointly committed to a Strategic partnership, we are here to demonstrate concretely its potential. Water security is one of the key themes of cooperation.

France is strongly committed to leveraging our bilateral cooperation, as well as public and private expertise, to contribute to these objectives. Gabal Asfar is an ideal example of the impacts of such a collaboration, improving sanitation services for 17 million inhabitants of Cairo.”

HE Ambassador Berger declared: “The Gabal Al Asfar wastewater treatment plant is the successful outcome of a close collaboration, of Team Europe with the Egyptian Government.

Together with the Government of Egypt’s contribution, we strive to create a brighter, healthier future for communities across Egypt, while safeguarding the environment.”

HE Dr. Sayed Ismail, Deputy Minister of Housing for Infrastructure Affairs, added: “I would like to thank the Ministry of International Cooperation for the efforts exerted together with the development partners for the provision of the required funds for the implementation of water and sanitation projects.

I would like to stress the importance of Gabal Al Asfar Wastewater Treatment Plant project in enhancing the state’s vision in the field of wastewater treatment and improvement of the health and social wellbeing of the residents in the target areas.”

France, through AFD, the EU, and AFDB are joining forces to support Egypt’s efforts in improving sanitation coverage and services to contribute to Egypt’s Vision 2030 and the National Strategy for Climate Change up to 2050.

The financing agreement signed today, as a Team Europe partnership, includes a EUR 50 million sovereign loan by AFD, a EUR 10 million grant from the EU delegated to AFD and a EUR 1.5 million grant from the French government. Additional financing is mobilized by the AFDB and the Government of Egypt, the latter contributing 60% of the total project costs.

About AFD:
Agence Française de Développement (AFD) Agence Française de Développement Group (AFD Group) implements France’s policy in the areas of development and international solidarity. It finances, supports and accelerates transitions towards a more coherent and resilient world.

With our partners, we are building shared solutions with and for the people of the Global South. Our teams are active in more than 4,000 projects in the field – in overseas France, in some 115 countries and in crisis areas, working to promote the “common goods” that are climate, biodiversity, peace, gender equality, education and health. It is our way of contributing to the commitment France and the French people have made to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Towards a world in common.

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