Skip to main content
Open this photo in gallery:

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 30, 2015 a logo is seen outside the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC. - The International Monetary Fund board on February 4, 2019 approved a $2 billion loan payment to Egypt, the latest in the country's three-year aid program. The latest installment brings the total paid to Cairo to about $10 billion since the loan deal was signed in November 2016. The previous loan tranche was approved in July of last year but this fourth review of Egypt's program had been awaiting board approval since October, when IMF staff and government officials had finalized it. (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP)BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty ImagesBRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

The International Monetary Fund has approved a deal that will provide a $3 billion support package to cash-strapped Egypt over a period of almost four years, with the agreement expected to draw in an additional $14 billion in financing for the Middle East country.

The announcement from the IMF’s executive board late on Friday comes after a preliminary agreement was reached in October between Egypt and the fund. That initial deal came hours after Egypt’s central bank introduced a series of reforms, including a hike in key interest rates by roughly 2 percentage points.

The Egyptian economy has been hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine, events that have played havoc with global markets and hiked oil and food prices worldwide. The Egyptian pound has lost 36 per cent of its value against the dollar since March.

Egypt is the world’s largest wheat importer, most of which came from Russia and Ukraine. The country’s supply is subject to price changes on the international market.

The deal announced Friday – known as an Extended Fund Facility Arrangement – is expected to cover a period of 46 months and will give the Egyptian government immediate access to about $347 million, which will help the nation bolster its balance of payments and budget, the IMF said.

The statement said the package is expected ‘’to catalyze additional financing of about $14 billion from Egypt’s international and regional partners.

According to the IMF, the package will introduce wide-sweeping economic reforms, including a ‘’durable shift to a flexible exchange rate regime” and a ‘’monetary policy aimed at gradually reducing inflation.”

It also envisages structural changes to the Egyptian economy to rebalance ‘’the playing field’’ between the state and private sector, IMF said.

For months, Egypt has been battling spiralling inflation, with its yearly rate reaching over 18 per cent in November.

For decades, most Egyptians have depended on the government to keep basic goods affordable through state subsidies and other similar schemes. About a third of Egypt’s 104 million people live in poverty, according to government figures.