The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Egypt hope to conclude talks over a loan deal “in the coming weeks”, said a joint statement on Sunday.
The statement came after IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde met with an Egyptian delegation headed by the governor of the Central Bank of Egypt Hisham Ramez, Minister of Finance Al-Morsi Hegazy and Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Ashraf Al-Araby.
“Work will continue with the objective of reaching an agreement on an IMF Stand-By Arrangement to support the authorities’ national economic programme in the coming weeks,” the statement read.
In March, Egypt refused an IMF ‘bridge loan’ of $750m in emergency funds, which falls under the IMF’s Stand-By Agreement, with Hegazy claiming it was Egypt’s “right as a nation, and as a member nation of the IMF, to receive 300% of our quota, or $4.8bn”.
The statement did not make clear whether Egypt will be receiving the full $4.8bn or a smaller loan.
The statement acknowledged efforts made by Egyptian officials who “are firmly committed to addressing Egypt’s economic and financial challenges with the objective of restoring sustained and socially-balanced growth”.
Lagarde said on Saturday that the IMF will remain engaged in the loan negotiations with Egypt, but asked the international community to provide financing.
“It’s a task and we will not give up, we will not leave the table,” Lagarde said at a news conference during the IMF and World Bank spring meetings in Washington.
Lagarde emphasised that the IMF “cannot be the only one” to support Egypt’s ailing economy.
“It will take international support and international donors to also help Egypt,” she said.
“I was in Egypt myself in August 2012. We had a programme that was just about ready in November 2012, when, as you know, political decisions were made to not put in place the fiscal decisions that were intended, which obviously made the whole programme redundant,” Lagarde said.
An IMF delegation left Cairo last week without reaching an agreement over the proposed loan.
The IMF and Egypt have been in talks for months over the proposed loan package that will unlock further billions in aid if an agreement is reached.
Last year, the IMF reached a deal in principle to provide the loan to help finance the government while it undertakes reforms.
The loan was close to completion in November but political unrest delayed negotiation.
Egypt believes an IMF loan will help restore investor confidence in the country.