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By Gazette Staff:

CAIRO, July 12, 2018 - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) maintained a favourable outlook for Egypt's economy in its third major review of the country's loan programme on Thursday, a Reuters report said.

The three-year $12 billion loan programme was agreed between the Egyptian government and the IMF in late 2016 and was aimed at drawing back investors with Egypt undertaking tough reforms such as slashing energy subsidies, imposing new taxes, and floating its pound currency.

The country raked in $2.27 billion dollars in tourism revenues in the quarter from January-March, the latest available data from the central bank showed.

The Fund said that should help Egypt reduce its overall current account deficit to 2.6 per cent in 2018-2019, down from a previous projection of 4 per cent.

The IMF estimated that Egypt would face a financing gap of $1 billion for the year, which it could plug through either a Eurobond or its own reserves, suggesting that Egypt could tap international markets again this year.

It said that external debt was likely to rise to $91.5 billion from a previous projection of $85.2 billion in its second review.

Inflation has soared in the import-dependent country after it floated its currency in late 2016, hitting over 30 per cent last year, but price rises have cooled in recent months.

Recent IMF-backed cuts to energy subsidies have pushed inflation back up however, to 14.4 per cent in June from 11.4 per cent in May.

The Fund expects average inflation for the 2018-2019 fiscal year to be 14.4 per cent, and urged tight monetary policy to keep a lid on prices.

"The Central Bank of Egypt should maintain its restrictive stance to contain second-round effects of fuel and electricity price increases, with future policy changes guided by inflation expectations and demand pressures," IMF First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton said.

Egypt's fuel subsidy bill is expected to account for 2.1 per cent of gross domestic product in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, the report said, up from a previous estimate of 1.2 percent on the back of higher global fuel prices.

Foreign investment in Egypt's equity and debt markets reached record highs since the country embarked on the reforms, though foreign direct investment outside the energy sector has remained sluggish.

The IMF warned that a general pullback from emerging markets by investors presents a risk, but said Egypt is "well-positioned" to weather any outflows due to healthy foreign reserves, which hit $44.258 billion at the end of the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

CAIRO, April 8, 2018 - Egypt's Prime Minister Sherif Ismail presided over a ministerial meeting on Sunday attended by the ministers of petroleum and finance and the directors of petroleum companies.  The meeting reviewed a plan for an initial public offering IPO of some oil companies. The prime minister said that the government programme was aimed at activating the stock exchange, attracting more investments to the country and providing additional finance to the companies so they could expand their activities.

Ismail added that the government programme was not aimed at laying off workers, but rather at supporting the ability of the companies to grow and to improve their performance.

The minister of petroleum reviewed the status of the oil companies and pointed out that the oil sector was a promising industry and one of the most important in the country.

The minister of finance said the total value of IPO, in line with the government's programme, was expected to reach LE80 billion. 

Cairo, March 29 - The Egyptian National Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) concluded the second phase of a project that seeks to give marginalised women and those with special needs access to information and knowledge. The project is part of a 20l6/20l7 UNESCO programme under the patronage of the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Dr. Khaled Abdel Ghaffar.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research on Thursday said that the project aims at highlighting the rights of women, marginalised groups and people with special needs. It also aims at enhancing the capabilities and competencies of the professional media in working with marginalised and people with disabilities to help them contribute to the state  development plans.