Central Bank: Qatar’s promised $3 bn in aid not yet received

Central Bank of Egypt Governor Hesham Ramez said Egypt has not yet received a Qatari deposit of US$3 billion intended for buying bonds.

Qatar’s prime minister had previously promised the amount to Egypt after meeting with Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Qandil earlier this month. Libya had also promised about $2 billion to Egypt around the same time.

Egypt has struggled with continued unemployment, a devaluation of the pound and a sluggish economy after its revolution two years ago, amid ongoing efforts to negotiate a $4.8 billion loan with the International Monetary Fund — something which IMF officials have said depends on Egypt’s ability to secure political consensus and certain fiscal measures.

Ramez said he did not participate in the financial support talks with Qatar or Libya. He visited Qatar before the country announced the $3 billion in support for Egypt, but only to participate in a meeting for Arab financial officials.

Ramez made the statements about the pending Qatar deposit during a meeting organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Cairo on the sidelines of his current visit to Washington, in cooperation with the Egyptian-American Business Council.

There have been many statements since the 2011 revolution on standing alongside Egypt during its transition, but, Ramez said, none have been implemented. The international community quickly supported Cyprus with about $15 billion, he added, but it denied Egypt, a larger country, $10 billion.

Every day that goes by without international support adds more risk to the situation, especially because Egypt is facing difficult times, the Central Bank governor said. He called on political groups to meet for dialogue, and said all attention should be placed on the economy so it can provide employment opportunities and confront poverty.

Ramez said he believes the exchange rate would become stable again when the economy is more active, and added his mission is to build up a solid reserve through real economic activity and foreign direct and indirect investment — not to eliminate the black market, even at the expense of draining reserves.

He said black market activity would cease on its own if the economic situation improves.

Ramez said he expects an agreement with the IMF to be signed within a month and a half.

However, Egyptian businessmen visiting the US for discussions with US officials and Congress members have said they did not think there was a clear time frame for the conclusion of loan negotiations, and predicted the loan would be signed after parliamentary elections in Egypt.

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