SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 23 July 2024, Tuesday |

Egypt calls for more financial support to maintain social protection

The Egyptian government is seeking to obtain new financial support to maintain social protection and improve the standard of living, especially for the most vulnerable groups.

Egypt is facing worsening economic conditions, amid scarcity of foreign reserves and high inflation rates.

In the World Economic Outlook report, which was issued on Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expected the average annual inflation rate in Egypt to reach 23.5 percent in 2023, and to jump to 32.2 percent in 2024.

Egyptian Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said Cairo needs more support to provide social protection for its citizens.

He made his remarks during a closed session organized by the World Bank during the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank in Marrakesh.

The minister noted that international financial institutions must move quickly to pump sufficient financing packages into emerging markets, in order to reduce uncertainty and restore investor confidence, by working to adopt a number of alternative financial instruments that are more adaptable to current conditions and external shocks.

Last December, Egypt obtained from the World Bank new financing worth $500 million to expand the base of beneficiaries of the social safety net program known as “Solidarity and Dignity,” as part of a third phase of cooperation between the bank and the Egyptian government to help targeted Egyptians get out of the cycle of poverty.

Maait said during the session that approximately 36 million Egyptians today need comprehensive health coverage, pointing to difficulties facing the government to secure the necessary funding for this purpose.

Egypt lost a large portion of its foreign currencies after the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian war, as an estimated $23 billion left its financial market in about one week. The country has also lost 40 percent of its tourists, who come from Russia and Ukraine.

“We Egyptians, like other peoples, have paid the price for these shocks. Financial institutions must help us. Here we are talking about our need for more support,” Maait said.

On Friday, the minister signed a memorandum of understanding with the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), Dr. Rola Dashti, to enhance the efficiency of social spending.

 

    Source:
  • Asharq Al-Awsat