Egypt expects to receive $1.5 billion loans from WB, AFDB before year end

Reuters , Ahram Online , Thursday 19 Nov 2015

World Bank
World Bank (AP)

The World Bank expects to make a $1 billion development policy loan available to Egypt in December if all goes to plan after completing negotiations in Cairo last weekend, a senior World Bank official said.

The loan could be the first of three as part of a three-year program with Egypt, Hafez Ghanem, the World Bank's vice president for the Middle East and North Africa, said.

Egypt has said it needs the money to help ease a foreign currency shortage caused by a slide in tourism revenues and foreign investment.

"Our team was in Cairo over the weekend and I think they completed the negotiations," he said, adding that the World Bank and Egyptian government still needed to approve the final documents for the $1 billion installment.

"It would come through sometime in December if everything is fine," he said.

"There is an agreement in principle that this is a $3 billion, 3-year program, but that commitment is only for the first year," he added.

The government of the most populous Arab country also expected to receive $500 million from the Côte d'Ivoire-based African Development Bank (AFDB) before end of this year to finance the urgent developing projects, Al-Ahram reported on Friday citing the international cooperation minister Sahar Nasr.

The money is first chunk of $1.5 billion loan that has been negotiated with the AFDB to be sent over three years, Al-Ahram said.

The World Bank is also considering a request from Iraq for more funds after agreeing a loan of $350 million in July for emergency reconstruction of areas that security forces have liberated from Islamic State militants, Ghanem said.

The government has asked for another loan for budget support, and negotiations are ongoing, he said, adding that it was not clear if this would be possible before the end of 2015 as desired by the Iraqis.

"They are talking about $1.2 billion. That is what they have asked for, we would like to do it but I am not sure we will be able to do that full amount, but we are doing our best to respond to the request," he said.

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