AfDB commits $140m to Sharm El-Sheikh Airport expansion
The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has approved a $140-million loan to Egypt's Sharm El-Sheikh Development Project.
The AfDB Board also approved a US $1.90-million Middle Income Countries Technical Assistance Fund Grant to finance the project, which includes construction of a new terminal, runway and control tower within the confines of the Sharm El-Sheikh airport.
The project, to be implemented within 44 months, is expected to provide an additional capacity for 10 million passengers per year. This will bring the airport’s total passenger capacity to 18 million annually, and operations capacity to 68 operations per hour.
Egypt’s economy, Egyptian Airports Company (EAC), private sector enterprises in the tourism, and aviation and services industries are expected to benefit directly from the project. Others beneficiaries are travellers using the airport, airline operators, and Egypt’s labour force.
Sharm El-Sheikh airport has been Egypt’s fastest-growing facility and is Africa’s third-busiest airport, with an average of 10% annual growth rate in traffic over the past decade (excluding year of revolution). The total number of passengers using the airport reached 8.2 million in 2010, which is above its design capacity.
Over the years, the Government of Egypt’s development plans have focused on transport infrastructure and the establishment of well-developed transport links and systems as a means to accelerate economic growth. This is in light of the country’s large geographical area, and its reliance on economic sectors such as tourism, agriculture, industry and services. All this is aligned with the country’s Vision 2022, and its five-year macro-economic policy framework (2014/2015 to 2018/2019). At a recent Economic Development Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh in March, the government launched the Strategic Development Strategy (SDS) entitled Egypt’s Vision 2030. The document cites tourism as a key strategic sector for investment, and one that promotes growth of medium-term investment and large scale infrastructure.
In March, a high-level Egyptian delegation led by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab visited the Bank’s Executive Directors and management in Abidjan, and sought the Bank’s support to the government’s ongoing economic reforms. It also asked the Bank to boost its ambitious development and investment programme.
The Bank’s contribution to the project represents 21% of the total estimated cost of US $671 million. The project is co-financed with the Islamic Development Bank and the Government of Egypt.