Egypt President hails gov't COVID-19 economic performance testified by IMF

CAIRO, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi praised on Saturday the economic performance of the Egyptian government despite the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic, commending the positive outlook of the Egyptian economy stated by world financial institutions including the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The government's efforts "were praised by major international financial institutions, foremost of which is the official announcement of the IMF experts that the performance of the Egyptian economy has exceeded expectations," Sisi said in a statement.

He hailed the ability of the Egyptian economy to deal with the outbreak of the coronavirus, attributing it to "the accurate implementation of the economic reform program."

On Thursday, IMF experts said in a statement that "the Egyptian economy has performed better than expected despite the pandemic. Containment measures, supported by the authorities' effective crisis management, and strong implementation of their policy program helped mitigate the effects of the crisis."

The IMF team said it has reached a staff-level agreement with Egypt after the first review of the country's economic program supported by an IMF 12-month 5.2-billion-U.S.-dollar loan agreement approved in late June.

The team noted that a tranche of 1.6 billion dollars will be available to Egypt after the approval of the IMF executive board.

"Continued strong program implementation, including sustained progress in key structural reforms, is vital to build resilience. This will also ensure that investors remain confident in the outlook for Egypt," said the IMF.

It added, however, that while domestic activity shows early signs of recovery and financial market conditions have improved in Egypt, "key sectors like tourism remain at an almost standstill and risks linger particularly amid a second global wave of COVID-19 infections."

The IMF statement also projected Egypt's growth rate to decline from 3.6 percent in the fiscal year 2019/20 to 2.8 percent in 2020/21 because of pandemic-related impacts.

Before the last agreement, the IMF already provided Egypt with a three-year 12-billion-dollar loan to help the country implement an austerity economic reform program that started in late 2016, implementation of which was later described by the IMF as a success.

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