Head of Communication Department and the Spokesman of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Gerry Rice (AFP)
Gerry Rice, head of the Communication Department and the spokesman of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), told Ahram Online that the IMF is currently in discussions with the Egyptian government concerning its request to acquire a loan under the Stand-By Agreement (SBA).
Rice was speaking to Ahram Online during the IMF’s online press briefing from Washington on Thursday.
He said that according to the modalities of the SBA, the final decision in this regard will be made in the light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and its impact on the economy. He added that once the Egypt mission reaches an agreement it will submit Egypt’s request to the IMF’s Executive Board for a decision.
He stated that the IMF’s Executive Board has already approved a $2.8 billion emergency package for Egypt several weeks ago to help the country address the pandemic crisis under the rapid financing instrument (RFI).
He clarified that the SBA is not a predetermined facility, but it relies on various factors.
“The IMF is working to revise the world economic outlook in light of the COVID-19 repercussions on the ground across the globe, and the results are expected to be announced on 24 June,” Rice told Ahram Online.
In the press briefing, Rice disclosed that the IMF has disbursed $10 billion for 27 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and to tackle its implications. The figure is 10-fold what the IMF has been disbursing for the region annually.
He added that as of 3 June around 40 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have submitted requests to the IMF to receive its emergency finance facilities.
Rice said the IMF, in cooperation with the World Bank, is supporting the G20 debt service suspension initiative with $12 billion to eligible low-income countries.
On 21 May, Rice told Ahram Online that the RFI loan for Egypt carries an interest rate of one percent, which is a very low rate and will be repaid over five years, which is a significant grace period.
The IMF is expected to approve the disbursal of $200 million of Egypt’s quota under the SBA.