Egypt’s Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has reviewed and approved the contract to build, finance, operate and maintain the country’s first monorail system.

According to a source with knowledge of the project, the final contract is expected to be awarded to the selected bidder, a consortium led by Canada-based Bombardier, soon.

The client, Egypt’s Housing Ministry, completed the technical and financial evaluation for the contract in late 2016.

Its recommendations as well as the contract were then forwarded for approval to the PMO.

MEED understands the monorail will extend 35 kilometres from 6th October City and Sheikh Zayed City to the transport networks in Cairo.

Two consortiums, one led by Canada’s Bombardier and the other by China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC), submitted an offer for the contract in 2015.

The project was initially being supervised by the Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Development, which announced in May 2015 that it had commissioned the Canadian-led team to build the $1.5bn monorail. The monorail was to be completed in 2018.

Egypt’s Ministry of Transport (MoT) subsequently took over the scheme in late 2015, and said it would be working closely with the Housing Ministry on the project’s implementation. CGGC subsequently submitted an offer.

It is understood both groups have initially proposed an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC)-plus-finance model, with the Chinese group understood to have proposed providing loans through Export-Import Bank of China.

In June, Bombardier signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Egypt’s New Urban Communities Authority (Nuca) for a second monorail scheme that will extend from Nasr City to New Cairo and the new administrative capital.

The scope of the MoU entails the conduct of economic and financial feasibility studies, local media reported citing Mazen Hassan, Nuca vice chairman.