International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde will visit Egypt next week in a show of IMF support for Egypt's transition.
“At the invitation of the Egyptian authorities, Managing Director Christine Lagarde … will visit Egypt on 22 August,” the IMF said in a brief statement on Wednesday.
It added that the planned visit “is a reflection of the IMF's continuous commitment to support Egypt and its people during this historic period of transition."
Egypt's finance minister said earlier on Wednesday that Egypt planned to discuss the possibility of a bigger-than-expected US$4.8 billion IMF loan when a delegation from the global lender visits Cairo this month.
Successive governments have negotiated with the IMF to secure emergency funding that officials had put at US$3.2 billion, but no deal has been reached and Egypt's funding problems have steadily worsened during 18 months of political turmoil.
"We will discuss, in the negotiations we are to carry out with the IMF, increasing the loan to US$4.8 billion," minister Momtaz al-Saeed told reporters, adding that he asked the United States on Tuesday for a US$500 million grant to support the state budget.
On 5 August, the IMF said an official mission led by its Middle East and Central Asia chief Masood Ahmed would visit Cairo this month aiming to "resume discussions on possible financial support for a homegrown economic program."
On Tuesday, newly appointed Prime Minister Hashim Qandil said that on the sidelines of the signing ceremony of a $200 million loan from the World Bank for the benefit of the Social Fund for Development, a US delegation would also visit Egypt in August to discuss ways to support the local economy.
The PM said investors are queuing up to discuss investment opportunities in the country now that Egypt has a civilian government.
"The government is ready to receive requests for investors … Some economic sectors will witness significant growth in the upcoming period, including tourism," he predicted.
He said that donors would find many projects ready to be carried out.
The Freedom and Justice Party had granted the former Cabinet headed by then-Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri the approval to sign the IMF loan.
The overall budget deficit will rise 12.5 percent to LE135 billion in the fiscal year that began on 1 July, according to the Finance Ministry, which pushes the government to borrow from abroad to cover the deficit.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm