Bank, ADB approve Egypt loans On
Dec. 17, the World Bank’s board of directors approved a $1-billion budgetary support loan for Egypt. According to the bank, the loan is the first installment in a $3-billion pack- age that will be released over the coming three years pending Egypt’s “satisfactory implementation” of a multi-year reform program. On the same day, the bank also approved a new Country Partnership Framework for Egypt, in which the bank’s financ- ing arms will provide $8 billion, tar- geting private sector job creation, improved governance and social inclusion. “World Bank Group sup- port to Egypt will focus on the coun- try’s urgent need to create more jobs, especially for the youth, improve quality and inclusiveness in service delivery, and promote more effective protection of the poor and the vulner- able,” said Asad Alam, World Bank country director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti, in a press statement. In related news, the African Development Bank also approved last month a $500 million soft loan for Egypt, the first tranche of an antici- pated $1.5 billion package. increase over the current investment level, which the General Authority for Investments puts at around $6 billion. Saudi Arabia also agreed to support Egypt’s petroleum needs for five years and to help boost Suez Canal traffic. A timeline for these invest- ments was not specified, nor were the mechanisms by which Saudi Arabia intends to increase Suez Canal traffic. The aid and investment package was announced two days after Saudi Arabia announced that Egypt was among the 35 Muslim-majority states joining a Saudi-led alliance against terrorism. Anwar Ashki, chairperson of the Jeddah-based Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies told independent news site Mada Masr that the deal is intended “to make Egypt’s enemies understand that Saudi Arabia is supporting Egypt,” but he denied that it was linked to Egypt’s participation in the anti-terror alliance.