IMF clears way for $2 bn loan payment to Egypt

The International Monetary Fund has cleared the way to approve the next $2bn loan payment to Egypt, IMF chief Christine Lagarde announced on Friday.

"The IMF staff team has now finalised the details required" to present the accord to the IMF board for approval, Lagarde said in a statement.

"The board will meet in the coming weeks to discuss the review and I will recommend that the Board approve the review."

The loan programme for Egypt was signed in November 2016 and with this payment Cairo will have received $10bn of the $12bn total.

Since the 2011 revolt that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak, the economy of the Arab world's most populous country has received multiple shocks caused by political instability and security issues.

Egypt has imposed harsh austerity measures to try to right the economy and reduce the budget deficit, including hiking fuel prices and electricity rates.

Lagarde praised the "substantial progress" made by the Egyptian government on the reforms, which have boosted growth and cut unemployment to the lowest rate since 2011.

But she said, "It is important to build on the progress achieved thus far and to press ahead with structural reforms that facilitate private sector-led growth and job creation."

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