IMF supports Egypt's economic reform measures, Lagarde tells Sisi

Ahram Online , Thursday 6 Apr 2017

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi during a meeting with the IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde in Washington on Wednesday 5 April (Photo: Egypt's Presidential Spokesperson Facebook Page)

The International Monetary Fund's (IMF) managing director Christine Lagarde reiterated the IMF's support fort Egypt's economic reform programme following a Washington meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on Wednesday. 

Lagarde described Egypt's economic reforms as a strong programme "to help the economy return to its full potential, achieve more growth and create more jobs."

"We recognise the sacrifices made and the difficulties faced by many Egyptian citizens, especially due to high inflation," said a statement by the IMF chief.

The statement added that the IMF is currently working to "help the government and the central bank bring inflation under control and supports the steps the Egyptian authorities are taking to protect its poorest and most vulnerable citizens."

Egypt's annual headline inflation hit a new record high of 31.7 percent in February, up from 29.6 percent in January.

President El-Sisi expressed appreciation for the "fruitful cooperation" between the government and the IMF, according to a press release by his office. 

El-Sisi praised Egyptians' "patience and understanding of the latest economic measures despite their harshness."

El-Sisi also said that Egypt aspires to attract more foreign investments in order to raise the country's economic growth rate and decrease unemployment and public debt.

On Wednesday, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr met in Washington with Dev Jagadesan, the CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a US government agency that helps US companies invest in emerging markets.

Nasr told Jagadesan that Egypt is a "major promising market for growth and investment for the US companies," pointing to a planned investment law that would provide "guarantees to the US companies to invest in Egypt."

According to the Central Bank of Egypt's (CBE) figures on Sunday, Egypt's foreign debt jumped 40.8 percent year-on-year to $67.32 billion in December.

Egypt is negotiating billions of dollars in aid from various lenders to help revive the economy and ease a dollar shortage that has crippled imports and driven away foreign investors.

Egypt has received the first tranche of a three-year $12 billion loan deal with the IMF, and is expecting to receive the second tranche soon.

The second tranche of a $3 billion loan from the World Bank was disbursed to Egypt last month.

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