Egypt gets $1b W/Bank’s aid

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President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt

The World Bank has disbursed another $1 billion financial assistance to Egypt out of its $3 billion loan programme with the country.

Egypt had been negotiating billions of dollars in aid from various lenders to help revive an economy hit by political upheaval since a 2011 revolt and to ease a dollar shortage that crippled imports and hampered its recovery.

Dr Asad Alam, the bank’s Country Director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti said in a statement that “the Egyptian Government has taken important steps in implementing key policy and institutional reforms.

“These steps will lay the foundation for accelerated job creation and inclusive growth in the African country.”

The World Bank issued the first one billion dollars tranche of the loan in 2015, with two more instalments of the same size to follow, linked to additional reforms that the government planned.

Faced with a gaping budget deficit, Egypt begun series of painful economic reforms and had taken steps to lower fuel subsidies, introduced new Value-Added Tax (VAT) and allowed its currency float freely in the foreign exchange market in November to attract foreign inflows.

Sahar Nasr, Egypt’s Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, said the second tranche would help to spur private sector investment and development projects and services, which should help to improve people’s standard of living.

Hafez Ghanem, the World Bank’s Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa, told media this month that Cairo’s next set of economic reforms should focus on making its bureaucracy more transparent for investors.

Egypt expects to receive the second tranche of 12 billion dollars International Monetary Fund loan in May or June, Finance Minister Amr El-Garhy told Reuters last week. (Reuters/NAN)

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