Egypt Seeking Loans to Deal With Currency Shortage, Ismail Says

  • State will use $2.5 billion from land sales as collaterial
  • Egypt imports about $60 billion worth of goods annually

Egypt is in talks with the World Bank and the African Development Bank to try to secure $1.5 billion in loans to shore up the nation’s dwindling foreign-currency reserves, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said.

The government plans to use $2.5 billion from land sales to expatriates as collateral to secure the loans, Ismail said at an Egyptian-French business council meeting in Cairo. French investments in Egypt increased by $500 million in the last two years, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said at the gathering.

Egypt’s foreign-currency revenues have dwindled since the chaos accompanying the 2011 popular uprising against President Hosni Mubarak scared off investors and tourists. Reserves fell to $16.3 billion in September, 50 percent below their 2010 levels. That’s enough to cover just about three months’ worth of merchandise imports.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has urged his government to cut back on imports to conserve foreign currency. Egypt imports about $60 billion worth of goods annually.

Ismail said the government aims to shrink its budget deficit by 1.5 percent annually, while increasing the nation’s gross domestic product by the same amount.

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