World Bank, Egypt to sign Cooperation Strategy within a Month: Minister

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The Ministry of International Cooperation is to sign within a month a cooperation strategy agreement with the World Bank Group, minister Naglaa Al-Ahwany said Thursday.

Earlier in April this year, the World Bank’s regional vice president for MENA Hafez Ghanem said the bank had decided to double its investments in Egypt to US$4.5 billion in the coming four years, reaching US$1.2 billion per year.

Ghanem’s remarks came during a panel discussion organized by the WB on the sidelines of its joint annual spring meetings with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) held in Washington, D.C. last April.

“We are really focused on water, agriculture, and youth – using our investments country by country. Example in Egypt, we’re giving about a billion per year for the next 4 years,” Ghanem said in the panel discussion posted on the organization’s website.

“A third of MENA countries—oil importers—will grow at about 4 percent in 2015, buoyed by some policy reforms, notably in Egypt and Morocco, as well as low oil prices,” Ghanem said.

The report expected GDP regional growth to remain “flat” at 3.1 to 3.3 percent for the rest of 2015 and for 2016, citing prolonged conflict, political instability in some countries and low oil prices.

“Economic growth in oil exporters, however, is plummeting.  Those mired in conflict, such as Iraq and Libya, are likely to see economic contraction this year.  The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are expected to lose about $215 billion, or 14 percent of their combined GDP, from lower oil prices this year,” added the report.