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Wednesday, 8 July 2020

The IMF, GERD and tuition fees all feature on the airwaves

It was a mixed bag on the airwaves last night: The IMF’s Egypt mission head dropped in for an interview on Masaa DMC, there was more non-news on the GERD talks on Ala Mas'ouleety, and EgyptAir’s boss revealed plans to increase flights this month.

Economic reform program is paying off under covid -IMF: Egypt entered the coronavirus crisis in a strong position compared to other emerging markets due to its perseverance with the 2016-2019 economic program, IMF mission chief for Egypt Uma Ramakrishnan told Masaa DMC’s Ramy Radwan in an interview last night. The reform program made it much easier for the government to access emergency funding from the IMF to tide it through the crisis, she said. In recent weeks the fund has approved more than USD 8 bn in new loans for Egypt: a USD 2.8 bn rapid financing instrument and a USD 5.2 bn standby facility. Ramakrishnan reiterated the IMF’s expectations for 2% growth in FY2019-2020 and FY 2020-2021. Watch the full interview (runtime: 25:33)

Deadlocked GERD talks: Ethiopia wants to encroach upon Egypt and Sudan's share of the Nile and operate the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) unilaterally, former irrigation minister Mohamed Nasr Eldin Allam told Ala Mas'ouleety's Ahmed Moussa. Allam said that Egypt has no objection to discussing share allocations but claimed that Ethiopia wants the freedom to change how it operates the dam without consulting Egypt and Sudan (watch, runtime: 12:23). Yahduth Fi Misr’s Sherif Amer reviewed a statement from the Irrigation Ministry, which also accused Ethiopia of intransigence during the talks (watch, runtime: 2:29).

EgyptAir’s new normal: EgyptAir will operate 35 flights every day by the middle of July, EgyptAir CEO Roshdy Zakaria told Moussa. He said that the airline is working at 20% of its staff capacity, and serves around 2-2.5k passengers a day for inbound flights, and 3-3.5k passengers for outward bound flights. Zakaria was downbeat on the recovery, telling Moussa that it is unlikely that the airline will see a return to pre-covid passenger levels before the middle of 2021 or a pre-covid flight schedule before 2023 (watch, runtime: 6:41).

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