THE Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) signed a loan agreement with the Egyptian government on December 26 to provide an official development assistance (ODA) loan of up to Yen 41bn ($US 309.6m) for Phase 1 of Cairo Metro Line 4.

Egypt’s National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) is currently executing the Phase 1 project, which involves the construction of an 18.8km metro line from El Fustat in the centre of Cairo to El Ashgal in the west.

Line 4 is due to open in February 2028 and will have 16 stations, including Grand Egyptian Museum near the Pyramids of Giza.

The project will cost a total of Yen 500bn, according to Jica, and aims to meet transport demand, relieve traffic congestion and reduce air pollution in the Greater Cairo area.

The Jica loan bears an annual interest rate of 0.1% for the project and 0.01% for consultancy services. The repayment period is 40 years with a grace period of 10 years.

The Special Terms for Economic Partnership (STEP) scheme applies to the loan. STEP aims to promote the visibility of Japanese aid through the transfer of Japanese technology and expertise to developing nations.

NAT has awarded Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) and Kinki Sharyo a Yen 40bn contract to supply 184 metro cars for Phase 1, while MC and its consortium partner Orascom Construction are supplying railway systems, track and depot works.

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