IMF: Qatar aid to Egypt helpful but no substitute for Fund’s loan
WASHINGTON - The International Monetary Fund said Friday that Qatar's $5 billion in support for Egypt was not a substitute for the stalled IMF loan to help the country undertake reforms.
IMF Middle East regional director Masood Ahmed said the Fund was still in talks to provide a multibillion-dollar loan to Cairo that is contingent on strong support from domestic political actors and a commitment to key reforms.
"There’s a financing need that Egypt faces for the next 12, 18 months, and any financing that is provided is very useful in meeting that need," he said at the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank.
Ahmed called aid like that which Qatar announced last week, to help the Egyptian government as it increasingly faces strains on its finances, "helpful."
"But it's not a substitute for the kind of measures that they (Cairo) have been putting together and that they want to move forward with, and that if we can reach would be a basis for an IMF-supported program."
Last year the IMF reached a deal in principle to provide a $4.8 billion loan to help finance the government while it undertakes reforms.
The loan was close to completion in November when political changes in Cairo set it back.
Ahmed assured that talks were still ongoing.
A recent mission to the country "made good progress... and we're continuing those discussions."
"There are still some areas in which the authorities are making sure that the data that they have is the most recent."
"We're working together with them to make sure that the program will address the challenges that face Egypt, and will do so in way that protects the most vulnerable part of the society."
But he declined to put a target date for completion of the talks.