Lagarde: Egypt’s economic reforms will be a must regardless of future president
IMF general director Christine Lagarde - AFP/Saul Loeb
By SAMAR SAMIR

CAIRO: “No matter who [is] in charge, economic reforms will be a must,” Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde said Friday regarding the future of Egyptian economic reforms after the presidential elections.

In a phone interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on how the IMF views the future of Egypt’s economy after the presidential elections if Field Marshal Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi wins, Lagarde said that she is “sure that there will be good investments but the reform stage will certainly … help.”

“The relationship with Egypt is not broken, we do have a relationship. We do provide technical assistance concerning VAT (value added tax), energy, subsidiary reform. We will continue to be available as needed when the Egyptian authority asks to help,” Lagarde added.

She said she hopes that reforms will continue under whoever will be elected president of the country and with the new parliament.

Egypt closed the file of negotiating with the IMF on a $4.8 billion loan two years ago, Salwa el-Antari , an economic expert and former general director of the research sector of Al-Ahly Bank, told The Cairo Post on Friday.

Egypt’s economic reforms should be framed according to Egyptians’ priorities and not under the conditions of the IMF, Antari added.

Negotiations between Egypt and the IMF have reached no final agreement and talks completely stalled in the wake of former President Mohamed Morsi’s ouster in July after mass protests against his regime.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates pledged $12 billion in assistance to Egypt following Morsi’s ouster. Despite the influx of financial aid from Gulf States, Egypt’s economy is still facing “major challenges, with lower growth rates and soaring unemployment,” Christopher Jarvis, chief of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) mission, said on April 13.

In its World Economic Outlook report issued last week, the IMF stated that Egypt’s economy is expected to grow by 2.3 percent and 4.1 percent in 2014 and 2015, respectively, compared to 2.1 percent in 2013.

“Economic growth in Egypt is expected to be broadly the same in 2013, as political uncertainty will continue to weigh on tourism and foreign direct investment, notwithstanding the fiscal stimulus supported by GCC financing,” IMF stated in the report.

On April 15, Egypt’s Minister of Finance Hany Kadry announced that Egypt will resume negotiations with the IMF on the loan after presidential election scheduled for May 26 and 27, MENA reported.

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