By Maximilian Clarke

The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department, Mr. Masood Ahmed has completed a ‘productive’ round of talks focusing on Egypt’s long-term economic development.

With a literate population, developed infrastructure and a GDP in excess of £100bn, Egypt has the potential to once more be a dominant regional economic hub. The recent disturbances have, however, left the country’s powerful economy hanging in the balance.

Commenting on conclusion of today’s (Thursday’s) talks, Mr. Ahmed said:

“We have had productive initial talks with the authorities on a possible IMF supported program to help stabilize Egypt’s economy, restore confidence, lay the foundations for job creating growth and ensure that vulnerable households are protected during the transition. This initial visit will be followed by technical work during the coming weeks, both in Cairo and in Washington.

Egypt’s economy, despite its solid and sound fundamentals, is facing a number of difficult challenges, which have to be addressed through an economic program that safeguards macroeconomic stability and creates conditions for a strong recovery. The program developed by the Egyptian authorities and its key policies are currently being discussed with emerging political parties to ensure broad political support. This should help reduce uncertainty and boost confidence in the program’s successful implementation.

“During our visit, we also had the opportunity to meet with the economic committee of the Freedom and Justice Party and members of other parties and civil society represented in the Advisory Council of the SCAF. These meetings provided us with a cross-section of views about Egypt’s current economic and political situation, and possible avenues to address the challenges facing the economy. It also gave us an opportunity to explain the role the IMF could play in support of Egypt’s historic transition.

“We look forward to continue in the coming weeks our dialogue and close work with the authorities on the specifics of Egypt’s economic program which could be supported by the IMF.”

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