Japan will be providing Egypt with a concessional loan worth USD 451 million to resume construction of the Grand Egyptian Museum, Egypt’s cabinet announced on Sunday.
The announcement of the loan comes after Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail met with Japan’s Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Motome Takisawa, to discuss bilateral cooperations and boosting ties between the two nations.
The two also discussed increasing Japanese tourism to Egypt, as well as the possibility of Japan supporting Egyptian Ambassador Moushira Khattab’s bid to become UNESCO’s Director-General.
Last year, then-Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Al-Damaty announced that funding for the museum had run dry, as costs increased from USD 800 million to USD 1.1 billion. The increase in costs came as the EGP weakened against the USD.
The Grand Egyptian Museum was set to open in 2015; however, its opening is now scheduled to take place in 2018. It will be Egypt’s largest and primary museum and, spanning 117 acres, will house over 100,000 artifacts.
While the Museum’s construction has faced numerous delays, a new conservation and restoration center for antiquities has been developed and is already in operation, with experts working on antiquities that will be displayed at the Grand Egyptian Museum once it is opened.
Former minister Al-Damaty also announced that the museum will be managed independently to ensure that it is free of bureaucratic restraints.
The minister said that this was previously done with Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria’s library, which opened in 2002 and has administrative independence.