The World Bank approves a $200 million loan to fund Egypt’s small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) through the Social Development Fund, Minister of Finance Momtaz El-Saeed announced on Tuesday.
El-Saeed and World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa Inger Andersen worked out the deal, which is the first World Bank loan under the recently-elected President Mohamed Morsi. The Muslim Brotherhood candidate won in June, a year and a half after Egypt's revolution began and ousted then-president Hosni Mubarak.
In May, Islamist members from the now-dissolved parliament caused a stir by declaring that a $200 million World Bank development loan is against Islamic law.
Several Islamist parliamentarians blasted the international loan arranged in June 2011 for sanitation projects, arguing the interests are too high and qualify as ursury - a concept forbidden in the Quran.
Other loans and assistance
World Bank VP Anderson further offered help in repatriating Egypt's stolen funds by sending a team of experts to give legal and technical advice.
The International Monetary Fund is also expected to give Egypt a $3.2 million loan.
El-Saeed and Anderson discussed the progress in resuming the talks on that loan ahead of the IMF delegation visit that is expected shortly to Egypt.