Egypt not currently in talks with IMF for new loan: Minister

Ahram Online , Monday 14 Mar 2022

Egypt is not currently in discussion with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a new loan, Minister of Planning Hala El-Said told Reuters News Agency on Monday.

Hala El-Said
Minister of Planning Hala El-Said

Answering a question about whether Egypt is in talks with the IMF for a new loan, El-Said added that when “something” happens, the Egyptian government will announce it, describing the IMF as a great support for Egypt.

On Thursday, during the IMF media roundtable discussion about Ukraine, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said that she was “worried” for Egypt and the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on MENA countries.

“For the countries that are relying on tourism, Ukrainian and Russian tourists were a big part. Think of Egypt, for example, now they're going to be hit,” she said.

Egypt is among the top destinations for Ukrainian tourists, with about 1.5 million visiting the country in 2019.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, almost 727,100 Ukrainian tourists visited Egypt in 2020.

According to Russian Ambassador to Egypt Georgy Borisenko, about 125,000 Russian tourists visited Egypt during the first two weeks of 2022.

“If we have sustained high food and energy prices, how is this going to impact people in Egypt?” she said, revealing that the IMF is already engaged in discussion with Egypt on how to target vulnerable populations and businesses.

Georgieva did not mention in her talk if the discussions with the Egyptian government includes new loans.

In January, the IMF upgraded Egypt’s real GDP growth by 0.4 percent in 2022 to 5.6 percent, compared to the fund’s October 2021 projections.

According to the IMF officials, Egypt managed to do well amid the pandemic compared to oil-importer countries.

The World Bank also raised its projection for Egypt’s real GDP growth in 2022, according to its global economic prospect report that was issued in January.

Accordingly, the World Bank upgraded its forecasts for Egypt’s real GDP growth to 5.5 percent in FY2021/22 while maintaining the country’s outlook for FY2022/23 at the same rate of 5.5 percent.

Egypt received $2.77 billion in emergency support from the IMF in May 2020 to ensure that the government had enough foreign currency to fund essential imports and other needs during the coronavirus pandemic.

In June 2020, the Stand-by Arrangement (SBA) programme loan provided the Egyptian government with $5.4 billion over the subsequent 12 months in three tranches, the third and last one of which was in June 2021, to counter the impact of COVID-19 on the economy.

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