CAIRO: The Islamic Development Bank on Saturday approved $403 million for different projects in member countries, the bank said in a statement.
A big chunk of the funds — $344.5 million — has been approved for the first phase of Egypt’s electric express train project.
The 660-km railway project will connect the Egyptian port cities of Ain Sokhna on the Red Sea to Marsa Matrouh and Alexandria on the Mediterranean. It will benefit 25 million people annually and decrease carbon emissions by approximately 250,000 tons annually.
“The transformative projects approved in this board meeting will have a significant impact on improving transportation, education, and energy, as well as promoting regional economic integration and addressing emergency situations,” said Muhammad Al-Jasser, IsDB president and board chairman.
The bank also further approved additional financing of $13 million for the Central Asia-South Asia Electricity Transmission and Trade Project (CASA-1000) in Kyrgyzstan.
The bank initially approved $50 million for the project.
The project aims to meet the electricity demand in Afghanistan and Pakistan by establishing cross-border energy exchange among four IsDB member countries by exploiting the hydropower resources of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, the statement added.
Once operational, the project will utilize efficient and environmentally friendly indigenous hydropower resources of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, creating conditions for sustainable electricity trade between Central and South Asia, said the statement.
The third approved project includes the implementation of the second phase of the National Education Development Strategy of Tajikistan.
“The IsDB Group remains committed to supporting its member countries in their pursuit of prosperity and resilience, particularly during these challenging times,” Al-Jasser added.
Egypt’s Al-Ahly Bank and Banque Misr issued new three-year savings certificates with declining annual returns from 22 percent in the first year to 18 percent in the second to 16 percent in the third.
The two banks also issued a new fixed saving certificate with a return of 19 percent for three years.
The decision of the two banks came after the Central Bank of Egypt raised interest rates by 200 basis points.