World Banks loans Egypt $1 bn as economic relief

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Cairo, Sep 9 (IANS) The World Bank on Friday transferred $1 billion to Egypt to boost the Arab country's economic reform programme, a media report said.

"This is the first batch of a $3 billion deal allocated for funding a government economic developmental plan," Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nassr was

quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.

The fund will support the government efforts to mobilize financial resources for implementing its economic programme and the national projects that will help provide job opportunities, improve the citizens' living standards and strengthen the state infrastructure, Nassr added.

The Egyptian economy has been battling recession for the past five years due to political turmoil that led to the ouster of two presidents. This shrank the foreign currency reserves at the central bank from $36 billion in early 2011 to $15.5 billion at end of July 2016.

The country's main sources of foreign currency -- tourism, the Suez Canal and the remittances of Egyptian expatriates -- has declined over the past few years.

The country has been struggling to carry out economic reforms and establish national projects to revive its ailing economy which included deals with the world's major financial organisations.

This development comes after Egypt reached an preliminary agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in August, to get a $12 billion loan to reduce its budget deficit and carry out a three-year tough economic reform program that will include subsidy cuts and extra tax.

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