Egypt seeking loans to deal with currency shortage, says Prime Minister


Egypt is in talks with the World Bank and the African Development Bank to try to secure $1.5 billion (AED5.5 billion) in loans to shore up the nation’s dwindling foreign-currency reserves, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said. The government plans to use $2.5 billion (AED9.2 billion) from land sales to expatriates as collateral to secure the loans, Ismail said at an Egyptian-French business council meeting in Cairo. French investments in Egypt increased by $500 million (AED1.8 billion) in the last two years, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said at the gathering. Egypt’s foreign-currency revenues have dwindled since the chaos accompanying the 2011 popular uprising against President Hosni Mubarak scared off investors and tourists. Reserves fell to $16.3 billion (AED59.8 billion) in September, 50 percent below their 2010 levels. That’s enough to cover just about three months’ worth of merchandise imports. President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has urged his government to cut back on imports to conserve foreign currency. Egypt imports about $60 billion (AED220 billion) worth of goods annually. Ismail said the government aims to shrink its budget deficit by 1.5 percent annually, while increasing the nation’s gross domestic product by the same amount. (Abdel Latif Wahba/Bloomberg)

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