Qatar pledges additional $3 billion aid to Egypt

Ahram Online, Wednesday 10 Apr 2013

Aid to be provided in form of Egyptian treasury bonds or deposits in central bank in coming days, Qatari PM says

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani (C) talks with Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil during their meeting in Cairo January 8, 2013. (Photo: Reuters)

Qatar will extend $3 billion to Egypt in the coming days, the Qatari prime minister announced on Wednesday in comments reported by state news agency MENA.

The financial aid will be in the form of either Egyptian treasury bonds or deposits in the country's central bank, Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim told reporters at a press conference attended by his Egyptian counterpart Hisham Qandil.

Egypt will sell dollar-denominated treasury bonds to Qatar worth a total of $3 billion, a Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) source told Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website on Wednesday.

The source, who requested anonymity, added that Egypt would pay back the debt at an interest rate ranging between 3 and 4 percent.

The oil-rich Gulf nation has already granted cash-strapped Egypt $5 billion, including a $1 billion grant and $4 billion worth of deposits at the CBE, since the country's January 25 Revolution.

Bin Jassim's announcement contradicts a statement made early last month by Qatari Finance Minister Youssef Kamal that his country did not expect to give further financial aid to Egypt “in the immediate term.”

The Qatari prime minister also declared the emirate's intention to export natural gas to Egypt, to help the most populous Arab nation meet its increased energy needs during the summer.

Roughly 56 percent of local natural gas consumption in Egypt goes to the electricity sector, a proportion which increases significantly in the summer as gas is diverted from other sectors to meet rising demand for electricity.

Egypt had entered into negotiations with Qatar in September 2012 over importing liquefied natural gas, but no agreement was reached.

Sheikh Hamad also vowed to ease financial restrictions for Egyptian businesses operating in Qatar.  

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