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Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Last Night’s Talk Shows: IMF’s Azour talks regional economic outlook, upcoming review of Egypt’s SBA

It was a busy night on the airwaves last night, especially for Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi, who covered everything from an upcoming IMF review to disburse a second tranche of the USD 5.2 bn standby arrangement, to the upcoming House of Representatives election.

MENA economies will only start to a robust economic recovery once a covid vaccine is available, but governments need to continue doing what they can to support their economies until then, Director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia department Jihad Azour told Lamees in a conversation about the fund’s regional economic outlook report. For Egypt, Azour stressed the importance of sticking to its economic reform program, which he noted is a key reason we entered the crisis on relatively strong footing and allowed us to be the only country in the region that is expected to escape a recession this year. Shoring up the country’s social safety net through programs such as Takaful and Karama, as well as encouraging private sector investment, should also be top priorities for the government to be best-positioned for the post-covid recovery, Azour said.

The first of Egypt’s two reviews under the IMF’s USD 5.2 bn standby arrangement (SBA) is scheduled “within weeks,” Azour told Lamees. The review is a precursor to the disbursement of the second tranche of the SBA, of which Egypt has already received USD 2 bn (watch, runtime: 20:39).

In other news from the IMF, economist and former investment minister Mahmoud Mohieldin has been elected as the next executive board member of the fund, succeeding former Egyptian prime minister Hazem El Beblawi, Lamees said. Mohieldin — who is currently the UN Special Envoy on financing the 2030 development agenda — will represent Egypt and the Arab Group on the IMF’s board. All 11 Arab countries nominated Mohieldin for the job, Lamees noted (watch, runtime: 3:23).

Emaar’s Alabbar is bullish on our real estate market: Egypt’s real estate market is poised to stage a speedy recovery next year as investment conditions are expected to improve, Emirati businessman and Emaar Real Estate Chairman Mohamed Alabbar told Lamees. Alabbar noted that Egypt is one of Emaar’s most profitable markets, alongside the UAE, leading the developer to remain bullish on the country’s prospects (watch, runtime: 3:00).

House elections abroad: Expats who have registered to vote in the House of Representatives elections (which kick off abroad tomorrow) can mail in their ballots to avoid crowds at embassies, Emigration Minister Nabila Makram Ebeid told Lamees (watch, runtime: 7:17). Meanwhile, National Elections Authority head Lashin Ibrahim said that the authority has judges in place to monitor the vote and has pandemic-related precautionary measures in place for voters and judges alike, Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa noted (watch, runtime: 7:43).

A team of Egyptian archaeologists unearthed a new tomb at Saqqara filled with colorful, sealed sarcophagi buried more than 2.5k years ago as well as a collection of wooden statues, cabinet said in a statement. Supreme Council of Antiquities Secretary General Mostafa Waziri detailed the discovery and noted that five museums will be inaugurated over the next few weeks in separate conversations with Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal (watch, runtime: 11:41) and El Hekaya’s Amr Adib (watch, runtime: 9:16).

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