Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/06/2012 -- BMI View: Egypt's attentions are focused almost exclusively on the country's presidential election, which will go a long way to determining future strategy in the water sector. By the time this report appears, the likely winner should be known. The best outcome is that the uneasy interregnum that has been sustained since Hosni Mubarak left the presidential palace in February 2011 will give way to a more coherent political climate, in which longer-term planning on critical infrastructure will be facilitated.
Key themes to highlight for Egypt's water sector:
- Egypt's difficult post-Mubarak trajectory is creating significant challenges for private water developers eyeing opportunities in what was historically one of the region's most promising markets. In the most damaging development to afflict the country's water sector for some years, the Central Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Unit - the government organisation geared to towards advancing PPPs in critical infrastructure sectors - announced the official cancellation of plans to build a major wastewater treatment plant at 6 October City near Cairo in early May 2012. The PPP project had been on ice since late 2010, when bidders first submitted proposals to finance and build a 150,000 cubic metre per day (m3/d) plant.
- The new head of the PPP Central Unit in Cairo, Atter Hannoura, will hope any new government formed after presidential elections will offer some sense of stability and outline their intentions for the water sector. It remains to be seen whether the new director of the PPP Central Unit will be as effective as their predecessor. The former head of the unit, Rania Zayed, was to a large degree personally responsible for Cairo's impressive achievements in pushing throught privately financed infrastructure projects. We anticipate that the Abu Rawash project, under which the existing 1.2mn cubic metres per day (m3/d) capacity plant will be expanded to 2mn m3/d, will still progress.
- Despite the cancellation of the 6 October City wastewater treatment plant, the Egyptian authorities remain committed to the PPP model to meet their wastewater treatment targets. In April 2012, the Construction Authority for Potable Water & Wastewater invited advisors to bid to provide consultancy services for a new wastewater treatment project at Helwan. The African Development Bank (AfDB)-funded project is a major positive for the sector.
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