African bank funds Egypt train safety after deadly crash

African bank funds Egypt train safety after deadly crash
2 min read
The African Development Bank announced a loan of 145 million euros ($170 million) Tuesday to improve safety on Egypt's rail network.
President of the African Development Bank Akinwumi Adesina [Getty]

The African Development Bank announced a loan of 145 million euros ($170 million) Tuesday to improve safety on Egypt's rail network, after a March train disaster that killed 18 people.

The bank said the money would be used "to enhance operational safety and to increase network capacity on national rail lines".

"The planned upgrades are expected to benefit low-income Egyptians, about 40 percent of the population, who rely on trains as an affordable mode of transport," it said in a statement.

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The loan comes a little over a week after Egypt arrested eight people over the deadly collision in the southern government of Sohag last month.

A speeding passenger train hit another that had suddenly stopped, sending a carriage hurtling into the air and injuring scores of people besides the dead.

Transport Minister Kamel al-Wazir, a former army general appointed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to lead the ministry, pointed to human error as playing a role in the country's rail accidents.

"We have a problem with the human element," he told a prominent talk show last month, pledging to automate Egypt's rail network by 2024.

Such incidents are generally attributed to poor infrastructure and maintenance.

Sisi has vowed tough punishment for those responsible for the Sohag crash, the latest in a series of deadly rail accidents.

The deadliest was in 2002, when 373 people died in a fire that ripped through a crowded train south of Cairo.

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