The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) signed on Tuesday a KD 17 million (USD 60.5 million) loan to Egypt for the second stage of an expansion of the natural gas network project in the governorates of Cairo and Giza. The project aims to leverage the household, industrial and commercial uses of natural gas as an environmentally-friendly fuel that could help curb the growing rate of air pollution, the state news agency KUNA reported. The two sides also signed an agreement on the arrangements of the partnership between KFAED and the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS), which is implementing the project. The documents were signed by KFAED’s Director General Abdulwahab Al-Bader, on one hand, and the Egyptian Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Dr. Ashraf Al-Araby and EGAS Board Chairman Eng. Mohammed Shu’aib, in the presence of Egypt’s Prime Minister Hesham Qandil. Speaking after the ceremony, Al-Bader said: “The loan agreement signed today is the 36th of its kind between KFAED and the Egyptian government and affiliate agencies. “The loans, amounting in value to KD 584 million (about USD 60 billion), were channeled to projects in various development sectors.” “The Fund offered Egypt eight grants for technical assistance amounting to KD 1.97 million (USD 6.9 million) that helped develop feasibilities studies for economic projects,” he noted. “The Fund has also managed two grants from the Kuwaiti government to Egypt that totaled in value KD 4.8 million (USD 16.1 million) to help rehabilitate public schools in the wake of the devastating earthquake of October, 1992, and the torrential rains of 1995,” he added. On his part, the Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Metallurgical Wealth Osama Kamal said the second stage of the national gas project aims to meet the needs of 500,000 consumers of natural gas. “The project targets launching six gas pumping stations with a total capacity of 450 cubic meters/hour and extending gas pipelines. “The projects costs up to 1.5 billion Egyptian pounds (some KD 75.6 million). KFAED’s loan, to be repaid over 21 years with a four-year grace period, will cover 49 percent of the total cost of the project,” the minister added.