France will finance Egyptian projects with French companies to the tune of 1.8 billion euros (2.18 billion dollars).
The first tranche will consist for the transport giant Alstom in supplying 55 metro trainsets for line 1 of the Cairo metro, for a total amount of 800 million euros financed by a loan from the French Treasury.
The line used by more than a million commuters daily has dilapidated cars that are more than three decades old.
Nine other projects are included in the intergovernmental agreement.
They will be funded by the French Development Agency (AFD) to the tune of one billion euros between 2021 and 2025.
With billions in financing, Egypt has become “a strategic economic partner of France … It is the first country in terms of Treasury loans”, declared the visiting French minister.
The cooperation has been broadened to cover renewable energy, water purification and public transport as well as funding for universities and social safety nets, Le Maire told reporters in Cairo.
Cairo, with a population of over 20 million people known for its congested roads, suffers from a dire lack of safe and efficient public transport.
The metro has three lines being extended and three more connection lines are expected to be built.
Egypt has been one of France’s biggest arms customers since President Abdelfattah al-Sisi came to power in 2014.
In May, Egypt bought 30 Rafale planes worth € 3.75 billion.
In December, French President Emmanuel Macron awarded Sissi the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor, the country’s highest distinction.
The Mayor said that France chose to expand its trade relations with the North African country following a visit by Sissi to Paris in December.
“France will dramatically increase its direct exposure to Egypt, becoming the primary counterpart to government-to-government loans,” he said.