Egypt’s Ministry of International Cooperation has reportedly signed a US$650,000 grant agreement with the African Development Bank (AfDB) to finance feasibility studies on a shipping route linking Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea through Nile River.
The plan for the shipping route, the aim of which is to convert the world’s biggest river into a sustainable waterway for transport, is expected to link the Nile Basin countries, comprising Egypt, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
The project, which according to Egypt will increase trade between member states and the outside world, will be inaugurated in 2018.
At the second meeting of the committee of the Nile River navigation course in Cairo on Thursday (October 1, 2015), Egypt’s minister of international cooperation said that benefits of the project are due to double especially in landlocked states such as South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda.
The grant, which will finance the first phase of the initial feasibility studies for the establishment of the shipping route, will be provided by the AfDB-owned Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation Trust Fund.
In September this year, a delegation from Egypt’s Transport Ministry met with Rwandan officials to inform them on a feasibility study of the cross-continent shipping route’s project, which also includes connecting Rwanda to Lake Victoria through the Kagera River or Lake Kivu.
On that occasion, Rwandan officials told the delegation that they were finalising feasibility studies on a project to boost river transport in Rwanda, adding that Egypt’s plan could be merged into the national one.