Egypt to work with IMF to plug economic program’s financing gap

Egyptian authorities will secure the additional financing needed for the government’s economic program in coordination with the International Monetary Fund, which has agreed in principal to lend the Arab country $12 billion, a senior official said. The government is targeting $21 billion to finance a three-year program designed to revive growth and ease a crippling foreign-exchange shortage. In addition to the IMF loan, funds will come from the World Bank, the bond market and bilateral accords. Chris Jarvis, head of the IMF delegation to Cairo, said he expects the Executive Board of the Washington-based lender to review the initial agreement with Egypt in the coming weeks. The first installment of the loan will be about $2.5 billion, he said by e-mail. In separate remarks reported by Reuters, he said Egypt needs to line up $5 billion to $6 billion in bilateral financing for the first year before the board’s review. Ahmed Kouchouk, Egypt’s deputy finance minister, said this effort will be done “in coordination between the IMF and the authorities.” Egypt is “confident that this will be done in the coming weeks,” he said in a phone interview on Saturday. Kouchouk said the the IMF was aware of Egypt’s financing requirements before the final talks in Cairo to reach the staff-level agreement.

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