Improving waste management in Egypt

Project description

Title: National Solid Waste Management Programme (NSWMP)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Egypt
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Environment (MoE)
Overall term: 2019 to 2022


With about 95 million inhabitants, Egypt is the most populous country in the Middle East. In 2016, around 21.7 million tonnes of municipal solid waste was generated. Driven by population growth and changing patterns of consumption, waste generation is expected to increase at a rate of 3.4% per year. Waste management services and infrastructure are unable to keep pace with these growth rates.

Only around 60 per cent of the waste produced is actually collected at the moment, and less than 20 per cent of this is properly disposed of or recycled. While public spaces in some cities are kept clean, the situation in other parts of the country is problematic. A significant portion of the overall waste is disposed of in canals, rivers, streets or open areas without any preventive measures to reduce the impact on the environment. This results in major environmental risks such as water, soil and air pollution, and disfigures the landscape. It also poses a serious risk to human and animal health and negatively impacts the economy, especially the tourism sector.

Despite international support, the institutions responsible for waste collection and disposal are not performing their wide-ranging functions properly. The legal framework is inadequate, there is no strategic planning, and the allocation of responsibilities and tasks remains unclear. The waste disposal sector is significantly underfinanced and there is an enormous need for sustainable investment and services.


The population of Egypt benefits from improvements in the waste management system. The private sector is involved in the relevant processes. Protection of resources, water bodies and the climate has improved.


The National Solid Waste Management Programme (NSWMP) is being implemented jointly with the KfW Development Bank and in cooperation with the European Commission and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs. It is working to establish the structures required at national level and – in addition to the contributions provided within the framework of financial cooperation – is also supporting the development of waste infrastructure in four governorates. Model waste-management approaches that are based on adapted technical solutions are being implemented with secure, long-term financing. Local expertise and capacities are being developed. At national level, the programme is helping to put in place the necessary institutional, strategic and legal frameworks.

The programme is supporting the establishment of the Egyptian Waste Management Regulatory Authority (WMRA), which provides new services for the waste sector in cooperation with existing actors. These include policy and strategy development, support for and supervision of the governorates, and the creation of sustainable financing models.

Inter-institutional coordination is being improved. Stakeholders from public and private bodies, universities and civil society are involved in planning, decision-making and implementation processes, and networking between these groups has been improved.

New, decentralised approaches for waste collection and recycling will create ‘green jobs’ and promote the efficient use of resources.


  • The programme measures have made a substantial contribution to the establishment of the statutory framework for the implementation of waste sector reform.
  • Dedicated waste management departments have been set up and staffed in the four governorates. Over 29,000 households are benefiting from the six newly introduced models for improved waste collection and recycling that include the informal sector or else formalise its involvement.
  • Networking of private and public actors in the waste sector in Egypt has been fostered in a targeted manner by means of a conference on recycling management.
  • The Waste Portal Egypt virtual platform has been set up to encourage exchange beyond the confines of the network events organised by the programme and to strengthen the sharing of knowledge between international and national chambers and associations.
  • Investment opportunities in the waste sector have been identified and included on the investment map of the Egyptian Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation.
  • Fifteen small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the waste sector have participated in a growth development programme. As a result, they have grown their business and, in certain cases, been able to secure external financing for their expansion strategies.
  • Digital information materials for social media have increased awareness among decision-makers and the general public of the role of the private sector in waste management.

Additional information