World Bank expects to pay $1 billion loan to Egypt in Dec

The World Bank expects to make a $1 billion development policy loan available to Egypt in December if all goes to plan after completing negotiations in Cairo last weekend, a senior World Bank official said.

The loan could be the first of three as part of a three-year programme with Egypt, Hafez Ghanem, the World Bank's vice president for the Middle East and North Africa, said.

Egypt has said it needs the money to help ease a foreign currency shortage caused by a slide in tourism revenues and foreign investment.

"Our team was in Cairo over the weekend and I think they completed the negotiations," he said, adding that the World Bank and Egyptian government still needed to approve the final documents for the $1 billion instalment.

"It would come through sometime in December if everything is fine," he said.

"There is an agreement in principle that this is a $3 billion, 3-year programme, but that commitment is only for the first year," he added.

The World Bank is also considering a request from Iraq for more funds after agreeing a loan of $350 million in July for emergency reconstruction of areas that security forces have liberated from Islamic State militants, Ghanem said.

The government has asked for another loan for budget support, and negotiations are ongoing, he said, adding that it was not clear if this would be possible before the end of 2015 as desired by the Iraqis.

"They are talking about $1.2 billion. That is what they have asked for, we would like to do it but I am not sure we will be able to do that full amount, but we are doing our best to respond to the request," he said.

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