File Photo: International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva. AP
“We are working with Egypt very closely, we are seeing actually the steps taken by the Egyptian authorities going to the direction that make us come with a program in, not months, but in weeks, we see that as a possibility,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in an interview with Saudi News TV channel Al-Arabiya during her visit to the Kingdom.
According to the IMF managing director, the most difficult issue the organisation had with Egypt is that the country has taken some steps towards reducing the losses it incurred to its reserves due to its attempts to protect its currency.
“These steps are welcoming but we think that more has to be done because the bleeding of reserves puts Egypt in a difficult position,” she added.
Georgieva confirmed that both sides are beginning to see "eye-to-eye" in terms of reaching a deal.
“I am optimistic about prospects about the program in the near future,” she concluded.
Last March, Cairo requested the IMF’s assistance through a new loan programme in order to help the government face the severe repercussions of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict on the economy.
Since the start of the government's implementation of the IMF-backed economic reform programme in 2016, Egypt has secured three loans from the fund, including a $12 billion loan to execute the first wave of reforms (November 2016 - July 2019) under the Extended Fund Facility. This was followed by two more separate loans amounting to $8 billion in 2020, to tackle the harsh impacts of the pandemic, under the IMF’s Rapid Finance Facility and Stand-By Arrangement.