European funding supports Cairo metro upgrade

Congested Cairo’s commuters waste endless amounts of time and money moving around the city

Egypt’s notoriously congested capital city, Cairo, which is estimated to cause economic losses of as much $8 billion annually, is set to benefit from a much needed upgrade on what of its oldest and most popular metro lines.

Millions of commuters will benefit from a series of European-backed loans, including €350 million provided by the European Investment Bank, €205 million  provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and a €50 million loan from Agence Française de Développement, the French development agency. The funding will support the Egyptian National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) with the partial rehabilitation of Cairo Metro, the major means of public transport in Egypt’s capital.

The loans will be used to  finance urgent works on Line 1 – the oldest of the Cairo underground lines – which remains the backbone of the system and is used by 500 million customers per year. Investments will increase the line’s capacity by 40 per cent by reducing headway (the time between trains) from 3.5 minutes to 2.5 minutes, thereby improving levels of safety, comfort and service reliability. The project will also introduce on-the-job training opportunities for young people.


Traffic congestion in Egypt is estimated to cause an economic loss of up to US$ 8 billion a year. Used by over 2.4 million passengers a day, the metro is vital for Cairo as it is one of the main means of public transport in a city of approximately 17 million people. The ongoing rapid growth in traffic congestion causes massive disruption to businesses and to people’s lives.

The Cairo underground transport system currently consists of three lines and a fourth is under construction. Line 1 is 42.5km long and has 33 stations. It covers the Egyptian capital from the north to the south.

The investment will also help introduce an enterprise resource planning system, an asset-management and cost-accounting module to be used by the metro operator ECM. The system will introduce modern and efficient asset-management practices and provide a comprehensive tool for system optimisation and performance improvement.


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