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Egypt expects IMF deal to activate 3 bln USD additional World Bank funding: minister

Egypt expected to receive a 3-billion-U.S. dollars loan from the World Bank after the country reached an initial agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to expand the latter’s loan arrangement, Egyptian Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait told a press conference on Sunday.

Maait said that last week’s agreement could pave the way for his country to receive over 20 billion dollars in additional funding from other partners, including the World Bank, the European Union, the African Development Bank, the Arab Monetary Fund and others.

On Wednesday, the IMF announced that a staff-level agreement had been reached with Egypt on expanding the institution’s loan arrangement for the country, which came under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF), from 3 billion to 8 billion dollars, in support of Egypt’s key economic reforms.

The agreement is subject to approval by the IMF Executive Board expected before the end of March, Maait confirmed.

The IMF announcement came after Egypt’s central bank floated its local currency and raised interest rates by 6 percent to stabilize the currency exchange market and contain high inflation.

Egypt has been struggling to curb rising urban inflation which reached 35.7 percent in February, compared to 29.8 percent in January, according to a report released by Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) on Sunday.

The high inflation led to price hikes and a shortage of foreign currency needed for imports.

But Egypt has recently seen a large foreign cash inflow after it signed in late February a 35-billion-dollar investment deal with the United Arab Emirates to develop a new resort city, Ras Al-Hekma, on Egypt’s northern coast, with the aim of boosting tourism, investment, and foreign currency reserves. ■

Famagusta Gazette