Hafez Ghanem, World Bank Vice President for Middle East and North Africa, said that the third tranche of the World Bank loan to Egypt, worth about one billion dollars, is due in December.
Ghanem added in a statement to the media delegation accompanying the American Doorway Mission in Washington DC, on Wednesday, that the bank's board of directors will convene in September to approve the tranche. He stressed that Egypt is the largest country in the Middle East, in terms of the size of cooperation with the bank, which reflects the confidence of the international community in Egypt.
Shareholders in the bank are interested in: improving the standard of living in Egypt; achieving social justice through increasing employment opportunities; as well as raising the levels of education and health care; alleviating poverty in villages; and boosting social protection programs.
Ghanem said he will visit Egypt next week as part of a World Bank mission.
The mission will meet with the ministers of finance, international cooperation and investment, agriculture, housing, electricity, energy and education to discuss cooperation programs with the bank.
He stressed that the bank does not impose specific projects on the Egyptian government, but rather discusses projects that the government is planning, and then decides whether they are consistent with the bank's goals, which are combating poverty and achieving growth.
Ghanem said that the external debt of Egypt is not a risk and that domestic debt is a huge burden, especially as the interest rate for local debt ranges between 15 and 20 percent.
Meanwhile, the IMF is currently discussing with the Egyptian government ways to curb price hikes, he pointed out. Ghanem called for the need to get rid of the subsidized goods system and replace it with monetary support, as is the case in all countries of the world.
He added that the bank is prepared to discuss the issue with the supply minister, in order to study the appropriate timing for applying this step.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm