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financial tool to stimulate environmental investment in Egypt
The Egyptian Environmental Protection Fund : EPF
Wednesday 6 August 2003, by Web Team

This document is available in arabic

The Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) is a fund established under Law 4/1994 within the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA). Its goal is to stimulate investment in the environmental sector in Egypt to support the government’s environmental. social and economic policies. To realize this goal, the EPF provides financial assistance on a competitive basis for projects that benefit the environment. In addition. The EPF seeks to foster partnerships between the financial community and both the public and private business sectors to increase investment in environmental initiatives.

Why is there a need for a fund to protect the environment?

The Egyptian environment is increasingly under threat from human activity. Industrial activity, construction and population growth are all factors that cause degradation of the human environment and Egypt’s valuable natural resources. The government has recognized the importance of protecting Egypt’s environment and has enacted Law 4/1994 with the objective of reducing pollution and preserving the environment for future generations. In order to realize environmental improvement, substantial investments need to be undertaken in the environmental sector. Investments are needed not only in the field of pollution control, but also in the development of environmentally friendly technology, the provision of environmental services and the establishment of sound environmental systems. This investment field has given rise to an innovative financial tool to stimulate environmental investment. Namely the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF).

Who can benefit from the EPF?

The EPF provides financial support both to projects that return a financial profit, as well as those that are non-profit. All kinds of organizations may apply to the EPF for funding provided that they are legally registered and allowed to undertake the proposed project. These include public and private sector businesses, educational and academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, as well as, government institutions and agencies. In all cases, applicants must be willing to provide a share of total project costs as it is the EPF’s policy not to provide a 100% of project financing and they must demonstrate their capability, both financial and technical, to undertake the proposed project.

What kind of projects will be considered for funding?

General EPF guidelines for projects under consideration are:
- Projects that address severe environmental problems In need of urgent solutions.
- Projects that benefit a large number of people.
- Replicable projects.
- Projects that have been studied and are ready for implementation.
- Projects that fulfill sustainable development objectives. e.g., employment generation and poverty alleviation, based on cooperation between various agencies/sectors of society.

Every year the EPF issues a plan detailing financial support programs offered for that year. The plan specifies areas of focus based on environmental priorities, as well as the types of financial assistance that will be provided.

What kind of financial support can the EPF provide?

The EPF is capable of providing financial support using a number of different mechanisms:

- 1 Interest rate subsidies

Interest rate subsidies are offered by the EPF is in the form of a grant used exclusively to offset interest rates on commercial loans for investment projects that benefit the environment. Loans are offered through participating banks.

- 2 Grants

Grants are offered to non-profit type environmental projects on a cost-sharing basis. The EPF provides a significant portion of total project funds and the implementing organization assumes the remaining portion of the project costs.

How does the EPF work?

The Environmental Protection Fund offers financing for projects on a competitive basis. Proposed projects are evaluated based on a number of criteria (environmental merit. financial viability. thoroughness of design and preparation, capability of the applicant. conformity with environmental priorities for the year, etc.) and the best projects are selected for funding. The application. Evaluation and selection procedures are designed to provide maximum clarity and speed for applicants and are carried out according, to predefined project cycle procedures. The project cycle is composed of the following steps:

- At the start of each fiscal year, the EPF announces its annual plan and the financial support programs offered for that year by means of a publicity campaign designed to familiarize potential applicants with EPF programs.
- Applicants interested in securing funding fill out and submit Application Support Form to the EPF, which has an overview of the project, the applicant, the requested level of funding.
- EPF staff reviews the submitted application forms and informs applicants whether or not their projects are eligible for EPF funding.
- The EPF’s Fund Management Committee convenes to review the eligible forms and select projects according to the announced criteria in the annual plan.
- The seven members appointed by Fund Management Committee are appointed by the Ministerial f decrees for a two year period and is chaired by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of EEAA Committee members include two senior EEAA executives, EPF manager (who acts as a treasurer) and three external environmental specialists.
- Projects selected by the Fund Management Committee sign agreements with the EPF, partner banks. etc., and disbursement of funds is based on schedules detailed in the signed contracts.
- The EPF conducts continuous monitoring and evaluation of ongoing projects to ensure adherence to the terms of the contract and successful implementation of the project.

-  Website Source : Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency website

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