Cairo has tapped multilateral lenders for $12bn this year to cover the gap in its finances left by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Having only exited a three-year IMF program in June 2019 the country in May and June inked two new short-term facilities totaling $8bn.

Officially, the IMF has Egypt down as one of very few countries not set to suffer an outright GDP contraction this year or next (MEES, 16 October): the IMF estimates 3.5% growth for the 2019-20 financial year to June to be followed by 2.8% for 2020-21. These figures look optimistic. A look at other economic statistics gives little reason to think that Egypt has significantly outperformed its peers such as Morocco, which is slated to endure a contraction of 6.5% for 2020, albeit followed by 4.5% growth for 2021 (MEES, 20 November). (CONTINUED - 1192 WORDS)