Egypt discusses social safety net with World Bank mission in Cairo

Ahram Online , Saturday 24 Jun 2017

Bank officials have been in Egypt on a five-day visit, checking progress of the government's economic reform programme

File Photo: Egypt's Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Waly (Photo: Al- Ahram)

Egyptian Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Waly met with the World Bank mission Saturday in Cairo to follow up on the progress of social safety net programme Takaful and Karama.

The World Bank mission, which was on a five-day visit to Cairo ending today, made field visits in Fayoum and Beni Suef governorates, where the programme is implemented.

The mission met with local authorities and beneficiaries of the five-year $400 million project financed by the World Bank.

The Takaful and Karama programme, established by the government in early 2015, is a national social safety net programme aimed at protecting the poor through income support.

Egypt is the first Arab country to implement the conditional monetary support programme to provide social protection in line with the implementation of a package of economic reform policies, Waly said in a ministry statement.

In 2014, Egypt launched a plan to introduce fiscal reforms, including fuel subsidy cuts that raised prices by up to 78 percent, and levying new taxes to ease a growing budget deficit – currently estimated at 12.2 percent of GDP – as well as floating the Egyptian pound in November 2016.

Egypt signed a $12 billion loan with the World Bank to support the government’s economic reform programme, with the funds intended for fiscal consolidation, ensuring energy supplies, and enhancing competitiveness in the private sector. Two tranches of $3 billion were delivered in September last year and in March, with the third tranche expected in December.

The World Bank finances several projects in Egypt, including projects related to energy, transport, water and wastewater, agriculture and irrigation, population and health, and social safety nets. It also supports employment projects and finances small and medium-sized enterprises.

The current portfolio of the World Bank in Egypt includes 26 projects at a total commitment of $5.92 billion, according to the bank’s data.

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