The European Commission approved Wednesday €100 million for Egypt, to help improve living conditions for the poor in Cairo, create more jobs, and make sustainable energy more widely available.
The new support will improve environmental conditions in the area by financing initiatives for waste collection, recycling of solid waste, solar energy systems for health clinics and waste water disposal. It will also raise awareness, through civil society groups, of the environmental challenges facing residents, and help local people – especially women and young people – to get involved in developing their own areas. 1 million Egyptian people will benefit from the programme.
“Our support will help where it is most needed – providing better living conditions for poorer people, more jobs and cheaper energy. It will help to make a real difference to the lives of ordinary people across Egypt,” said EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle.
60% of people in Cairo currently live in slum areas and lack basic social services like access to drinking water, sewage and waste disposal. Residents often build without obtaining building permits or without any proper connection to public infrastructure.
In trade, the Commission support will improve export opportunities by providing training, legal advice and helping to establish a proper regulatory environment. As well as improving quality of exports, these measures will also ultimately help to create jobs and lead to lower food prices for the population.
In energy, the programme will help to promote renewable energy resources and cut down on greenhouse gases, through measures like the increased use of solar heaters, the creation of energy-saving programmes for public buildings and street lighting and by making tariffs more transparent and understandable as a result.
The support, part of the Annual Action Programme, will help Egypt face some of its most important and urgent challenges as it moves towards more democracy and shared prosperity.
In line with Egyptian priorities and the two Joint Communications of the European Commission and of the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (“A partnership for democracy and shared prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean”1 and “A new response to a changing Neighbourhood”2,) the European Union’s financial support will focus in particular on:
- improving the living conditions of the poor population residing in under-served areas in the Greater Cairo region (€20 million);
- implementing trade and domestic market-related reforms which are expected to trigger inclusive economic growth and job creation (€20 million);
- improving sustainable energy supply for the whole population via the promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency in conjunction with increasing the financial transparency of the energy sector (€60 million).