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Sunday, 20 October 2019

IMF hints at post-loan arrangements with Egypt

IMF hints at post-loan arrangements with Egypt: Future cooperation between Egypt and the IMF will center around continuing structural reforms and the Sisi administration’s program to shore up the social safety net, the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Director Jihad Azour said at a presser in Washington yesterday. He suggested that the IMF will work with Egypt on private sector growth, job creation and increasing transparency of state organizations.

Azour’s comments were part of a packed weekend in Washington for the IMF and World Bank as well as for the Egyptian delegation attending the annual meetings of the two bodies.

Malpass speaks on Egypt’s energy reforms: World Bank head David Malpass praised Egypt’s commitment to renewable energy production and energy sector reforms, which he said had opened the door to more private-sector investment.

Investment Minister Sahar Nasr called on the World Bank and IMF to ramp up investment in human capital in Africa. She said that Egypt is pushing for human capital to be the cornerstone of development policies on the continent during its chairmanship of the African Union, according to a ministry statement.

Infrastructure and trade: Egyptian officials also met with World Bank Vice President for Infrastructure Makhtar Diop to discuss infrastructure development, especially in the fintech sector, according to an Investment Ministry statement. In a separate meeting with International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) CEO Hani Sonbol, Nasr reached an agreement to boost trade with Arab and African neighbors.

New funding for wastewater treatment plant: Nasr also reached an agreement with the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development to provide USD 248 mn to finance the second phase of a wastewater treatment facility in Bahr El Baqar. Orascom and Arab Contractors had signed in May a USD 739 mn agreement with the Armed Forces Engineering Authority to set up the plant.

More investment and funding for Egypt’s oil industry: Oil Minister Tarek El Molla suggested that the US Export-Import Bank provide funding to private sector players looking to invest in Egypt’s oil and gas industry, during a sit-down with the bank’s chairman, Kimberly Reed, according to a cabinet statement. John Christman, CEO of oil major Apache, told Madbouly, Nasr, and El Molla that the company is planning to expand its operations in Egypt, according to a cabinet statement.

Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly met US officials and business leaders including US senators Bob Menendez and James Risch, US Republican Congressman Michael McCaul, representatives from Boeing, and Adtran CEO Tom Stanton.

Elsewhere during the annual meetings:

  • Madbouly discussed recent developments on Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) negotiations during a roundtable discussion organized by the Middle East Institute think tank, according to a statement.
  • Nasr discussed the role of the private sector in Egypt’s economy
  • El Molla gave a brief overview on the East Mediterranean Gas Forum
  • CIT Minister Amr Talaat discussed Egypt’s digitization drive.

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