File photo of Egypt's Minister for Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr (Reuters)
Egypt has signed an agreement for a third $500 million tranche of a $1.5 billion loan package from the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Sahar Nasr, minister for investment and international cooperation, signed the deal on Sunday with AfDB's Egypt manager Malinne Blomberg.
The funding is intended to support Egypt's economic reform programme, according to a minstry press release.
Nasr said the deal sends a strong message, affirming that the Egyptian economy is moving firmly long the path to sustainable and comprehensive development.
She said the $500 million would be used to fund the country's social-security system, which does not currently meet the needs of citizens.
Blomberg said the AfDB's funding package was designed to support sustainable growth in Egypt, to help enhance governance and offer direct job opportunities.
She pointed out that the Egyptian government has already shown a commitment to carrying out reforms, as well as investments, growth, and energy sustainability.
She highlighted that AfDB currently heads 40 projects worth $2.4 billion in Egypt.
Nasr signed the deal to receive the first $500 million tranche of the AfDB package in December 2015, while the deal for the second tranche was signed in December 2016.
Egypt is also receiving a three-year funding package of $12 billion from the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF). Half that sum has already been disbursed since the flotation of the Egyptian currency in November 2016.
Last week, the IMF released its staff report on the second review of Egypt’s economic reform programme, identifying the outlook for the Egyptian economy as largely positive.
It commended the government for taking ownership of the reform programme and for its "strong track record in policy implementation since the start of the programme and political support at the highest level.”
The IMF's third review is due in March 2018.
Egypt's economy has been struggling since 2011 due to a sharp drop in tourism and foreign investment, two main sources of hard currency for the import-dependent country.
The country's foreign reserves stood at $37.019 billion by the end of December 2017.