The loan will be used to improve TE’s mobile network coverage by deploying approximately 2,000 new mobile sites and installing additional layers of capacity to its existing portfolio of cellular towers, according to a TE statement.
The EIB said the loan is the largest the bank has ever granted to a mobile network in Africa. The works are expected to strengthen the network across Egypt, including in less densely populated areas, and improve competition and accessibility of services.
State-owned TE is the leading integrated telecommunications operator in the Egyptian market, providing state-of-the-art technology and reliable infrastructure solutions, as well as the largest submarine cable network.
Apart from its “WE” mobile operation, the company owns 45% of Vodafone Egypt. ET shares and GDRs are traded on the Egyptian Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange.
Flavia Palanza, EIB Director for EU Neighborhood Countries, said the loan will help accelerate large-scale investments in mobile networks and ensure affordable access to digital services in Egypt.
“The EIB sees digital transformation as a catalyst for innovation, jobs and sustainable economic growth. We are delighted to partner with TE – a dynamic group committed to its ambitious network expansion program – to provide modern and wider access to connectivity throughout Egypt,” added Palanza.
Speaking to Ahram Online, Palanza said EIB operations in developing countries had received a boost since the start of 2022 thanks to EIB Global – a new arm whose mission is to provide financing for the development and partnerships outside the EU in the context of current global challenges.
She pointed out that Egypt is a key country for the EIB’s work in EU neighboring countries, with more than 40 years of operations in the Egyptian market and around 120 projects financed by the EIB.
“These projects include loan facilities to Egyptian banks to improve their financing of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), transport and urban development, power plants and wind farms, clean water and treatment facilities. water and industrial depollution”, Palanza explained.
Regarding the loan agreement, Palanza said that the EIB has also allocated 41 billion euros to projects focusing on digital transformation in the EU and its partner countries, including Egypt.
Egypt’s massive infrastructure projects have been successful in attracting new foreign investment in recent years, she noted.
She pointed out that initiatives such as Descent Life in Egypt are very important to improve the livelihoods of the poorest people, and that digitalization plays an important role in this regard.
Descent Life is a sustainable development initiative launched by President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi and targets the poorest and most disadvantaged villages in Egypt by implementing projects that improve their living conditions.
Initiatives such as Decent Life, Palanza said, and new investments in telecommunications, urban transport, renewable energy, water and sanitation, are being implemented across Egypt to foster inclusive growth and sustainable.
“The EIB hopes to continue to support Egypt in its ambitious plans and projects in many sectors,” said Palanza, adding that Egypt had taken a courageous decision to phase out subsidies while maintaining social protection programs for the poorer segments of society.
“Grants prevent more money from being put into new investments, and that’s why financial institutions like the EIB come to help Egypt implement new investments,” Palanza said.
Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Egypt, Tobias Krause, said digital transformation is a key pillar of the current ambitious phase of cooperation with Egypt.
“The EU aims to support the Egyptian government’s efforts to ensure resilient and affordable access to universal connectivity for the benefit of Egyptian citizens. This project shows the commitment of our EIB partners to support the planning of crucial inclusive digital infrastructure in Egypt,” he said.
“We will continue to work hand in hand with our Member States and European financial institutions as Team Europe to support Egypt’s human-centric digital transition and to foster a sustainable, connected and inclusive economy and society,” he asserted.