Azour made his comments in response to Ahram Online’s question regarding the expected loan deal with Egypt and how it would support the country’s efforts in mitigating the impacts of the global economic crisis.
This took place within the press briefing the IMF held on Wednesday to release the Regional Economic Outlook report for the Middle East and Central Asia as part of the IMF and the World Bank Group’s annual meetings that are being held in Washington.
Egypt requested in March the support of the IMF through a new loan programme that aims to maintain the gains of the country’s economic reforms and addressing the ongoing challenges imposed by the Russian war in Ukraine.
Azour also said that expanding the role of the private sector in the country’s economy is one of the key pillars the fund is discussing with Egypt under the new expected programme.
During the annual Iftar ceremony, known as “the Egyptian Family Iftar”, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi stated that support to the private sector will be doubled in the coming period to enable it to play its role in developing the economy, announcing a plan for establishing partnerships with the sector to tap state-owned assets with a total target of $10 billion annually over four years.
Commenting on the economic actions the president announced, Azour said that it’s important for Egypt to take all procedures to protect its economy against the ongoing harsh economic challenges.
Azour asserted that the Russian-Ukrainian conflict has direct and indirect impacts on the Egyptian economy, including food supply disruptions, impacts on the tourism sector, volatility of capital markets, and tightening of policy conditions, as well rising capital outflows.
For Egypt’s debt, Azour noted that it is expected to increase slightly, as is the case of other peers in MENA, however, this rise is not a matter of concern, as the biggest share of this debt is EGP-dominated.
Azour also pointed out that Egypt managed over the past six years to maintain its positive real GDP growth despite the economic challenges it faced.
For inflation, Azour praised the procedures the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) took in terms of raising the key interest rates and devaluating the EGP, saying that it contributes to preserving the stability of prices in the domestic market and the stability of the country’s economy as whole.