The World Bank on 9 December agreed to loan Egypt $1bn “to support the next phase of the country’s reform program” with a particular focus on “unleashing the power of the private sector.” “With the support of this project we aim to provide [small businesses] with a more conducive environment that will enable them to start and grow their businesses, with a focus on youth, women, and underserved regions,” international cooperation minister Sahar Nasr says. The World Bank lauds Egypt for “Energy sector reforms [which] have freed up public funds for the quadrupling of budgets for social safety nets.” It has fronted Cairo similar-sized loans for similar stated purposes in each of the last three Decembers.

Cairo also this week secured a $500mn loan from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development to finance energy, water and sanitation projects over the next three years. The loan will be repaid over 25 years at a 1.5% interest rate. (CONTINUED - 155 WORDS)