EGYPT: A consortium headed by French construction company Vinci expects to receive the go-ahead imminently to start work on the second section of Cairo metro Line 3. This will continue the underground line eastwards by 6·2 km from Abbasiya to Al Ahram (Heliopolis), and includes four underground stations.

A turnkey contract for the project, which will cost €569m, has been negotiated by Vinci, Arab Contractors, Bouygues and local company Orascom. Equipment suppliers include Colas Rail and Alstom for the signalling; Mitsubishi will supply the additional rolling stock. Work is due for completion in 2013.

In December 2008 the French government agreed to lend €200m over 17 years at a 0·15% interest rate to help finance Phase II. The remainder will be provided by the French Development Agency (€100m) and the Egyptian government (€269m). A separate Japanese financing deal worth €100m will cover the cost of additional trains.

Vinci is currently working on the €500m Phase I of Line 3. The 4·3 km five-station underground section between Attaba and Abbasiya is due to open in October 2011.