CAIRO - 22 September 2022: Egypt is willing to reach an agreement to obtain finance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) within a month or two, according to Finance Minister Mohamed Maait, reported by Bloomberg.
Maait added that the government is also exploring financing options that include affordable loans from China and Japan.
“The size of the new IMF financing program has not yet been decided, as it is “usually determined in the final stage of negotiations,” Maait said in an interview late Wednesday in New York.
He added that "reaching an agreement with the International Monetary Fund is a message of reassurance and confidence to international markets."
Goldman Sachs and Bank of America estimated that Egypt would need to secure $15 billion from the International Monetary Fund, although Maait previously said Cairo was seeking a smaller amount. Analysts expected the support to range between $3-5 billion.
Maait said that since last March, Egypt had witnessed $22 billion in outflows from the domestic debt market, and had not received any significant inflows.
He added that the government is now working on attracting more foreign direct investment, boosting exports, increasing the number of the initial public offerings (IPOs), and offering stakes for sale in some assets to bring in foreign currency.
He pointed out that Egypt, which is seeking to diversify its funding sources, has held discussions with some governments such as Japan and China regarding obtaining loans at reasonable cost.
Maait explained that officials are studying “a package of alternatives to try to get cheap financing.”
Maait revealed that there are talks with Japan regarding a loan of up to $500 million that will be directed towards various areas, including environmentally friendly projects.
Maait said the government is also working to obtain funding from international and regional multilateral development institutions and banks.
Another option that the government is considering is entering new markets, after two years during which Egypt became the first country in the Middle East to issue green sovereign bonds.
During the current fiscal year, the Ministry of Finance may issue $500 million in its first issuance of "panda" bonds in the Chinese market, with another $500 million in green debt to be raised, and there is an additional possibility of borrowing up to $2 billion through the country's first sukuk, according to Maait.
Previously, Maait announced that the Egyptian government is studying with the Japanese side the issuance of "green samurai" bonds during the coming period, after the success of the first 60 billion Japanese yen bond issuance in the Japanese market, in a way that attracted many Japanese investors.