For Egypt, sky-high state debts to IOCs operating in the country were seemingly a distant memory of the post-revolution era that saw Cairo wrack up arrears of over $6bn by mid-2014 (MEES, 8 August 2014). A $12bn IMF program agreed in late 2016 brought financial stability: receivables fell to $900mn by mid-2019 and just $200mn by January this year.

The Covid-19 pandemic now risks a return to the bad days. Receivables owed leapt to $850mn by 30 June (see chart). (CONTINUED - 992 WORDS)