By Abdel Rahman Yusuf
The global decrease in oil prices is of benefit to Egypt, on the one hand, but may have a negative impact, on the other, according to Minister of International Cooperation Naglaa Al-Ahwani.
Al-Ahwani’s statement came in a press announcement to Egyptian journalists during the periodic meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) in Washington.
Al-Ahwani explained that this decline will result in a decrease in oil imports, and the surplus will then be directed to projects or other services in the state budget. However, this might lead to a decline in aid and investments from the Gulf to Egypt, as Egypt is an oil exporter and will be affected by the decline.
Al-Ahwani however added that investments will not decline considerably, since they currently rely on the private sector of the Gulf states, while aid comes from governments. Al-Ahwani noted that Egypt has been seeking to decrease dependence on aid, and is working on the reform of the energy sector. This way, the effect will not be significant, according to Al-Ahwani.
On the position of the Arab investments that were announced in the Economic Summit in March, Al-Ahwani pointed out that discussions are being held to agree on the type of spending with the investors, which are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), adding that the nature of the projects has not been decided yet.
According to the current report on growth prospects, and while the IMF estimates growth in Egypt at only 4%, Naglaa Al-Ahwani believes that 4.2% is the percentage to be expected by the end of the year, similar to the Egyptian government’s previous expectations.
Although Al-Ahwani denied any consultations during these spring meetings regarding a loan from the IMF to Egypt, she referred to its possibility in case Egypt needs it, affirming that there were no negotiations with the IMF during the meetings, nor in the meantime.
Regarding the mission of the Egyptian delegation, which participates in the semi-annual meetings, Al-Ahwani declared that, in addition to its participation in the semi-annual meetings between the IMF and the World Bank, bilateral meetings are being held between the delegation and some international organisations. These include the International Finance Corporation (IFC), as well as the International Agency, in order to guarantee investments or attract any of the delegations that represent the participating countries.
Al-Ahwani added that there will be other meetings held with the Jordanian delegation, the German Minister of International Cooperation, the Deputy Prime Minister, as well as the Minister of Finance of South Korea. She however refused to provide further details regarding the meetings. She also mentioned that they will be coordinating the positions of the developing countries included in the Group of 24 (G24).