Egypt’s Ministry of International Cooperation will sign a strategic partnership with the Islamic Development Bank Group to further enhance bilateral collaboration, amid reports that the lender halted additional lending to the country until repayments are made.

According to a statement issued, citing Minister Naglaa Al-Ahwani, the partnership will boost cooperation between Egypt and the bank in all sectors, especially infrastructure, energy and transportation, and will maximise on exchanging expertise with member states of the Jeddah-based Saudi bank.

The statement also cited IDB’s chairman Ahmed Mohamed Ali as denying reports posted by Bloomberg News that Egypt will have to complete projects and repay its loans to the bank, up to $12.2bn in total, before it secures new loans.

In Bloomberg’s 26 April report, IDB’s director of infrastructure Walid Abdelwahab said: “Unless we’re able to expedite completion of the projects, we won’t be able to approve additional ones this year.”

Abdelwahad added to Bloomberg: “This is our number one challenge to make sure the projects are implemented on time, not only because it creates headroom for exposure limit, but also it creates results on the ground.”

IDB’s loans are being used partially to help finance the development of the first and second phases of an international airport in the coastal Red-Sea resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh, as well as an oil refinery in the Upper Egyptian city of Assiut, the agency said.

In the ministry’s statement, IDB’s chairman refuted that there are any overdue debts owed to it by the Egyptian government.

The lender, which was established in 1975 to bolster the economies of its 56 member states, signed six agreements with the Egyptian government during the Egypt Economic Development Conference in March that were collectively valued at $3.88bn.

The ministry’s statement also announced that an agreement will be signed to establish an office to be representative of IDB in Cairo, to further bolster cooperation.

Source: Daily News Egypt