CAIRO: The International Monetary Fund predicted Egypt’s unemployment rate to surge to 13.9 percent in 2015, up from 13.6 percent in 2014, according to the fund’s semi-annual World Economic Outlook report released Tuesday.
The fund also expected an increase in inflation to 13.5 percent in 2015 against 10.2 percent in 2014.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s GDP is projected to grow by 2.2 percent and 3.5 percent in 2014 and 2015, respectively, compared to 2.1 percent in 2013.
On Sunday, the fund expressed its willingness to participate in the Egypt Economic Summit due to be held Feb. 15.
“The Egyptian authorities have not asked us for a loan, but they have indeed told us that they would like us to participate in the Egypt Economic Summit, and we are happy to do so,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper Sunday.
Since the January 25 Revolution, Egypt and the IMF have had a tense relationship because of the international lender’s efforts to persuade Cairo to undertake economic reforms such as subsidy cuts and impose a value added tax.
Reducing subsidies that ate up a quarter of the state’s budget was one of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s first actions in his tenure, leading some to speculate that IMF funds could be on the short-term horizon.
Masood Ahmed, director of the International Monetary Fund’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, told state-owned MENA in early August that “Egypt has applied hard and brave economic reforms in recent weeks.”
He added that if the fund’s program were applied in Egypt, it would signal to international institutions that the situation is “stable” to carry out other programs.