Egypt paid $52 billion in external debt over the past two years: Finance minister

Ahram Online , Saturday 9 Sep 2023

Egypt has paid $52 billion of its foreign liabilities within the past two fiscal years (2021-22 and 2022-23), Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said on Saturday.

A file photo of Egypt s finance minister Mohamed Maait
A file photo of Egypt s finance minister Mohamed Maait


These payments were made despite severe global economic challenges in both years, Maait said, in reference to the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic and the Russian-Ukrainian war.

Maait's remarks came while speaking at a symposium organized by Egypt's Supreme Council for Media Regulation in Cairo.

Egypt spent in the first half of this year and until 30 June $25.5 billion to fulfill its financial obligations; including debt payments, the minister added.

According to the latest data released by the Central Bank of Egypt, the country's external debt rose by 4.8 percent to $165.3 billion in the third quarter (Q3) of FY 2022/2023, compared to $157.8 billion in the same quarter the previous year.

Egypt is struggling with a shortage of US dollar liquidity in the local market and a financing gap estimated at $17 billion through 2026.

To narrow that gap, the government is working on a program to sell state-owned assets, which has collected about $5 billion so far.

Egypt, Maait said, lost revenues of about EGP 400 billion during the pandemic's two years as a result of the closure of airports and maritime ports.

However, the country's rejection of a full shutdown during that time helped it continue on its development path, he noted.

He also assured listeners that Egypt would overcome the economic consequences of the Russian-Ukrainian war.

Maait views Egypt's joining BRICS as a valuable opportunity to increase the bloc's investments in Egypt.

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