Egypt's recently-obtained loans to help revive economy amid COVID-19 pandemic: expert

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CAIRO, June 27 (Xinhua) -- The loans Egypt has recently obtained will help the country revive its economy amid the spread of COVID-19, an Egyptian economic expert said on Saturday.

"Egypt has decided to get loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to assist its economic activities after a long period of an economic slowdown caused by the anti-coronavirus measures," Mostafa Ibrahim, vice president of the Chinese-Egyptian Business Council, told Xinhua.

Ibrahim, also a member of the Cairo-based Egyptian Businessmen Association, added that getting loans was "Egypt's only way to preserve the gains it has achieved in recent years by implementing an economic reform program."

The IMF approved on Friday a 12-month Stand-by Arrangement (SBA) for Egypt, with a total access of about 5.2 billion U.S. dollars to address the balance of payments financing needs arising from COVID-19.

The SBA will support the authorities' efforts to preserve the macroeconomic achievements made over the past four years, and advance key structural reforms, the IMF said in a statement.

It added that structural reforms will aim to continue strengthening the frameworks for public finances, improve governance and transparency, and reduce barriers to competition to ensure a path towards sustainable and inclusive private sector-led growth.

Ibrahim noted that the loans are expected to put the Egyptian economy back on track. However, he warned that the performance of the economic activities will largely rely on the gravity of the spread of the virus.

He said, "The government may reimpose its tight measure if infections will increase notably."

So far, Egypt's total coronavirus cases reached 63,923, including 2,708 deaths and 17,140 recoveries.

Egypt lifted on Saturday a partial nighttime curfew that has been imposed in the country for three months, amid a coexistence plan to maintain anti-coronavirus precautionary measures while resuming economic activities.

The decision includes reopening restaurants, cafes, theaters and cinemas with 25 percent of their capacity, while public beaches and parks will remain closed.

Egypt is expected to resume international flights from July 1 as the country prepares for the return of foreign tourism, after more than three months of international flight suspension over the COVID-19 concerns. Enditem

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