IMF delegation to visit Egypt next week for economic programme review

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation will arrive in Cairo next week to review Egypt’s progress on economic reforms, before it disperses the fourth tranche of the $12 billion loan deal, Deputy Finance Minister Mohamed Moait said.

Jihad Azour, Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department at the IMF, said in a press briefing on the sidelines of the recently-held spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank that Egypt would receive the tranche after the assessment, expecting it to come around the middle of the year.

In December 2017, Cairo received the third tranche of the loan, worth $2 billion. The fourth disbursement will bring the total Egypt has received so far to $8 billion.

Egypt clinched a $12 billion loan deal with the IMF in late 2016, shortly after the country floated its local currency. This came as part of a reform program that also included cutting energy subsidies and introducing new taxes.

Egypt’s reform program received much praise during the IMF spring meetings this year. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said that floating the currency, rebuilding foreign reserves, and reducing the fiscal deficit were all actions the government had taken that showed it was heading in the right direction.

“We are clearly seeing a rebound in foreign direct investment and in investment in Egypt in general. [There] is a clear rebound of growth as well, and hopefully the Egyptian economy is back on a productive, positive path that will be beneficial for all,” Lagarde said in a press briefing on the sidelines of the meetings.

Egypt’s foreign reserves reached $42.611 billion at the end of March, from $42.52 billion at the end of February, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) said earlier this month.

The IMF expects Egypt’s economic growth rate to hit 5.2 per cent in the current fiscal year, registering up to 5.8 per cent in the 2018/2019 fiscal year, Minister of Finance Amr el-Garhi said in a statement made in Washington.