World Bank officials to visit Egypt again over borrowing

World Bank officials plan to visit Cairo to examine the possibility of giving loans to Egypt, said Vakhtang Lejava, a World Bank representative who is chief adviser to the prime minister of Georgia.

At a press conference in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, Lejava said he met with several Egyptian officials from the Trade, Industry and Finance ministries, as well as from the investment sector, during several of his visits to Egypt during the past few months.

Lejava said Egypt will be able to get through the current stage successfully if it manages to adopt the correct procedures at the appropriate times, particularly as the world lends its support to Egypt following the 25 January revolution.

Some Egyptian officials are worried about borrowing from the World Bank, he said, adding that Egyptians should not fear cooperation with the World Bank.

All countries of the world are subject to certain conditions with regards to borrowing, such as requirements for transparency and economic reform, he said.

No arbitrary terms will be imposed on Egypt as some claim, he said.

"Still, Egypt should not expect magical solutions from the World Bank, since it has general rules that may not be compatible with the Egyptian economy," he went on. "That is why we need to negotiate to reach the best possible forms of cooperation between the two parties."

Lejava said Egypt should adopt new policies that depend on market mechanisms and allow for a greater role for the private sector.

Asked if Egypt could make use of the Georgian reform experience, Lejava said that Georgia is ready to provide its experience to Egypt in appreciation for its role in the region. However, the Georgian experience cannot be adopted indiscriminately without adaptation to the conditions in Egypt, he said.

Egypt had reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over a US$3.2 billion loan in June. However, former Finance Minister Samir Radwan rejected the agreement, following the objections of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

The government said the terms of the loan were found to be incompatible with national interest.

Then in October, the government said it was once again considering an IMF loan package that it had previously rejected, according to a statement by Deputy Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawy.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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