IMF approves $5.2 bn, 1-year loan program for Egypt

IMF approves $5.2 bn, 1-year loan program for Egypt amid coronavirus fallout

2 min read
The new IMF funding for Egypt under a standby arrangement comes on top of $2.8 billion in emergency aid.
Egypt will receive funding from the IMF to help in its fight against coronavirus [NurPhoto/Getty]

The IMF board on Friday approved a one-year, $5.2 billion financing package for Egypt to help the country alleviate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new funding under a standby arrangement comes on top of $2.8 billion in emergency aid the IMF board approved a month ago, although at the time officials acknowledged that more help would be needed.

The IMF noted Cairo had "a strong track record" of implementing economic reforms under fund-supported programs over the past four years, and the new loan will help put it on strong footing for a recovery. 

"Egypt was one of the fastest-growing emerging markets prior to the COVID-19 outbreak," the IMF said in a statement.

"However, the significant domestic and global disruptions from the pandemic have worsened the economic outlook and reshuffled policy priorities."

The aid will focus first on health and social spending, as well as financial stability to keep a lid on inflation.

Fund staff agreed with authorities on the terms of the loan in early June, and said the funds also will open the doors to financing from other lenders and help support job creation by the private sector.

Egypt has suffered over 2,500 COVID-19 fatalities with over 61,000 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally.

Egypt is the Arab world’s most populous country and it has the highest death rate from Covid-19 among Arab nations.

Egypt's economy depends heavily on tourism, which accounts for some 12% of the gross domestic product. The government fears a prolonged lockdown could be devastating economically, as the grounded international flights and empty hotels have taken a heavy toll.

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