IMF approves Egypt’s additional $5bn funding, $820m to be disbursed  

Mohamed Samir
3 Min Read

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a significant boost to its financial support for Egypt, acknowledging the country’s complex economic situation. The Executive Board completed the first and second reviews of Egypt’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement and greenlit an augmentation of the program by $5bn (SDR 3.76bn) raising the total to $8bn. This allows Egypt to immediately draw about $820m (SDR 618.1m).

The 46-month EFF program, approved in December 2022, aims to support Egypt’s economic stability. While all but one quantitative target for June 2023 were met, the IMF granted a waiver for the Net International Reserves criterion due to corrective actions taken by the Egyptian authorities.

External Shocks Complicate Economic Recovery

Egypt’s economic recovery has been hampered by a confluence of factors. Rising global inflation, foreign exchange shortages, and elevated debt levels have created significant challenges. The war in Ukraine further compounded these issues, leading to disruptions in the Red Sea that impacted Suez Canal revenues, a vital source of foreign currency.

These external shocks, coupled with delayed policy adjustments, slowed economic growth to 3.8% in FY2022/23. Projections indicate a further slowdown to 3% in FY2023/24 before a potential rebound to 4.5% in FY2024/25. Inflation remains high, but is expected to ease as policy tightening takes effect.

Investment Deal and Policy Reforms Offer Hope

A recent $35bn investment deal from an Abu Dhabi-based company provides some relief for Egypt’s balance of payments. However, the IMF emphasizes the importance of judicious use of these funds to rebuild buffers against future shocks.

The continued implementation of economic reforms outlined in the EFF program remains crucial. These reforms aim to create an environment where the private sector can become the engine of growth.

IMF Managing Director Calls for Sustained Reform Efforts

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva acknowledged the complex challenges facing Egypt and commended the authorities for strengthening the EFF reform package.

“Recent measures, including exchange rate unification, foreign exchange backlog clearance, and monetary and fiscal tightening, were difficult but essential steps,” stated Georgieva. “The authorities’ commitment to using the new financing for reserves, backlog clearance, and debt reduction is prudent.”

Georgieva highlighted the importance of maintaining tight monetary and fiscal policies while expanding the social safety net through targeted spending. Streamlining public investment management and transitioning from untargeted fuel subsidies to targeted social spending are also seen as critical measures.

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Mohamed Samir Khedr is an economic and political journalist, analyst, and editor specializing in geopolitical conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, and the Eastern Mediterranean. For the past decade, he has covered Egypt's and the MENA region's financial, business, and geopolitical updates. Currently, he is the Executive Editor of the Daily News Egypt, where he leads a team of journalists in producing high-quality, in-depth reporting and analysis on the region's most pressing issues. His work has been featured in leading international publications. Samir is a highly respected expert on the Middle East and Africa, and his insights are regularly sought by policymakers, academics, and business leaders. He is a passionate advocate for independent journalism and a strong believer in the power of storytelling to inform and inspire. Twitter: https://twitter.com/Moh_S_Khedr LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mohamed-samir-khedr/
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