WASHINGTON: IMF chief Christine Lagarde said Thursday that the global lender needs solid support from Cairo’s authorities for a truly viable program if it is to lend Egypt money.
“I want to help Egypt, no question about it,” Lagarde told journalists in Washington after being asked what was holding up a $3.2 billion International Monetary Fund support loan for the country.
“But it has to be done in accordance with the principles that we abide.”
“For us to extend loans, it requires, number one, that we have negotiated with the country, and with the authorities of the country, an economic program that is actually going to help that country to pull itself out of the difficulties it is in.”
“The second condition is that there is broad political support in the country so that our loan and our economic program duly negotiated with the authorities actually stands and is endorsed by the authorities.”
The IMF has sent two missions to discuss a program to help Egypt dig out of severe fiscal and balance of payments stresses.
But political rivalries and distrust of IMF conditions for reforms have prevented the country’s disparate political parties from supporting a program.
Lagarde declined to discuss specifics of the problems between the IMF and Egyptian authorities.
“The IMF stands ready” to help the five “Arab Spring countries” that have undergone deep political turmoil in the past 16 months, she said.
But, she added, “We are going to do so in accordance with our rules.”