Building Green, Resilient, Inclusive, and Sustainable Transport Systems in Egypt



By: Susan Lim, Senior Transport Specialist, World Bank (Cairo, Egypt)

KGGTF Grant: Egypt Green Transport Master Plan and Data Management System to Support Digital Transformation of the Transport Sector and Intelligent Transport Systems

Over the past decade, Egypt with 110 million population has invested over US$ 65 billion[1] in its transport infrastructure to improve safe access to services, creating employment opportunities and facilitating trade and logistics. In additional to roads and bridges, the Ministry of Transportation (MOT) has invested in numerous sustainable transport ventures including monorails, high-speed rail, light rail transit, metros, bus rapid transit, tramways, and ports. Given that transport is the second-largest sector contributing to Egypt's CO2 emissions, these advancements are crucial.

Since the ratification of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1994, Egypt has developed national strategies, made commitments, and established national steering mechanisms on climate change. Egypt’s climate change policy has evolved from adhering to specific international commitments to defining a long-term strategy in line with the country’s ambition to become a regional leader on climate change.  In June 2023, the country launched its Second Updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) covering the period between 2015 and 2030; and transport decarbonization is one of the pathways to Egypt’s 2030 mitigation targets.

Decarbonizing transport offers vast economic benefits, as underscored by various strategy documents from the World Bank supporting the Government’s climate change agenda, such as the World Bank Climate Change Action Plan and the MENA Transport Decarbonization Strategy. The Bank champions the "Avoid-Shift-Improve/Resilient" framework for climate transition in transport. Adding resilience is paramount because it safeguards vulnerable populations who might struggle to adapt to unforeseen changes or shocks. Essentially, a resilient transport system is pivotal for ensuring essential goods supply and for global market competitiveness. Public transport, especially, provides affordable mobility, thereby broadening access to economic opportunities and services.

Supporting Egypt's transport program has been a collaborative effort, particularly in addressing the intertwined challenges of climate change, inclusivity, and private sector participation. For instance, the World Bank's Railway Improvement and Safety for Egypt Project is modernizing signaling over 750 km, spanning Alexandria to the Greater Cairo Area and Upper Egypt; and the Cairo Alexandria Trade and Logistics Development Project is building a freight rail corridor between Alexandria and Greater Cairo Area. Such projects facilitate a shift from carbon-heavy road vehicles to efficient railways and construct resilient logistics not reliant solely on trucks. Initiatives like the Greater Cairo Air Pollution Management and Climate Change Project are aimed at replacing diesel buses with greener alternatives. This not only combats climate change but also transforms the sector to be more inclusive, efficient, and better catered to vulnerable groups.

The progression and sophistication of these transport systems mentioned above necessitate a higher skilled national workforce. This is essential for the construction, management, maintenance, and operation of these systems to ensure their sustainability. A review of existing curriculum and training facilities is needed to help the government to plan and improve the current transport training or to setup a specialized transport university could immensely bolster local expertise, benefiting not just Egypt but also the broader region.



The World Bank has recently facilitated the collaboration between the Government of Egypt and the Korea Green Growth Trust Fund (KGGTF) with an aim to further enhance Egypt's transport national knowledge and expertise. This was initiated through a Study Tour for an Egyptian delegation from several transport institutions visiting Seoul in December 2022 where they were exposed to advancements in the transport sector there. Through the KGGTF, the Korea National University of Transportation (KNUT) and MOT are exploring the possibility of establishing a dedicated transport higher education institution in Egypt.

This partnership seeks to:

     -Offer a tailored higher education program centered on transportation that aligns with MOT's requirements.

     -Develop a skilled transport expert workforce in line with the sector's escalating needs.

     -Promote knowledge exchange and research collaborations between Korean and Egyptian academics.

     -Enhance industry-academia partnerships, bridging theoretical learning and practical industry requisites.

The tangible outcomes of this collaboration were evident during the Korea Green Innovation Days event that was held in Cairo on October 17-19, 2023. The event featured the President of KNUT who visited Cairo to discuss potential areas of collaboration and to sign a memorandum of understanding with MOT. The World Bank will continue to focus on institutional and human capacity development through harnessing knowledge exchange between countries.

[1] Source: The Ministry of Transportation of Egypt, September 2023.