The Sovereign Fund of Egypt (TSFE) is planning to co-finance desalination projects in Egypt, a top office of the privately managed sovereign fund said.

Karim Badr, TSFE’s Executive Director of Infrastructure Projects said the fund intends to participate in the financing of desalination projects with a total capacity of 3.5 million cubic metres per day (m3/day) under a national desalination programme.

TSFE issued an international prequalification notice for these projects on 8 August 2022, he said, while speaking in a panel discussion on seawater desalination organised by ACWA Power at COP 27 on Wednesday.

The Fund’s involvement in these projects would bolster their financial structure and enable consortiums to secure funding from international financing bodies in light of the government guarantees, he said.

Badr added that TSFE’s current role is to provide technical and advisory assistance in evaluating offers submitted by international alliances.

During the panel discussion, Yasir Mahmoud, Executive Vice President – Business Development, ACWA Power pointed out that the desalination plants operated by the company produces about 6.2 million m3/day of desalinated water.

Hassan Amin, Managing Director of ACWA Power – Egypt said the company had studied one of the proposed sites for seawater desalination plants on the North Coast based on memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Housing, the Holding Company for Drinking Water and the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company.

Sayed Ismail, Deputy Minister of infrastructure, Ministry of Housing, Utilities, and Urban Communities, said drinking water coverage stood at 98.7 percent in 2022 from 97 percent in 2014 while the drinking water network reached 180,000 km in 2022 from 140,000 km in 2014.

"Desalinated capacity increased from 84,000 m3/day in 2014 to 917,000 m3/ day. The government is planning to develop about 29 desalination plants with a total capacity of 3.5 million m3/day by 2025 with a target of reaching 8.85 million m3/day capacity by 2050."

Ahmed Badr, Director of Project Finance at the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said that Egypt is moving in the right direction to increase its water resources with the participation of the private sector and the support and guarantee of the Egyptian government and the sovereign fund.

(Writing by Marwa Abo Almajd; Editing by Anoop Menon)