On August 13, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi inaugurated a barrage across the Nile in Asyut, financed by the German development bank KfW on behalf of the German Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ). The new construction became necessary after the previous barrage, more than 100 years old, reached the end of its economic and technical life. An additional run-of-river power plant integrated into the new barrage also enables climate-friendly power generation and safeguards for irrigation agriculture. KfW provided a loan of around 300 million Euro for the project. The Egyptian government contributed a further 150 million Euro. The project is primarily aimed at the five million people who are particularly dependent on the Nile barrage.
“Egypt is one of the most arid countries in the world. The Nile therefore plays an important role,” says Professor Joachim Nagel, Member of the Executive Board of KfW Group. “The five million Egyptians who cultivate the scarce agricultural land as very poor smallholders need the barrage in Asyut. It is therefore very important to keep it operational. KfW's support paves the way for a sustainable water supply and prosperous development in the region.”
The project included the construction of a new barrage with an integrated hydropower plant, the construction of a double navigation lock for the passage of ship traffic, and the construction of a four-lane road flyover. The project was accompanied by a range of environmental measures.
Most of the fresh water available in the arid country of Egypt comes from the Nile. The population growth of 2.3 percent per year will pose considerable challenges in the future for the water supply of the now 100 million Egyptians. 90 percent of Egyptians live on the narrow banks of the Nile and in the Nile Delta, which make up only five percent of the country's territory. Apart from some groundwater oases, the rest of the country is desert. Asyut, Minya, Beni Suef and Fayoum number among the least developed areas of Egypt. Here, the population is heavily dependent on agriculture. On behalf of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), KfW is currently supporting the modernisation of the Egyptian water sector through projects with a financing volume of around 630 million Euro. These measures will benefit around 21.6 million people.