World Economy

Egypt Repays $2.5b Qatar Loan

Egypt Repays $2.5b Qatar LoanEgypt Repays $2.5b Qatar Loan

Egypt has paid back $2.5 billion that Qatar gave in loan to help prop up the Egyptian central bank’s hard currency reserves, a central bank official said on Friday night, as the Qatari foreign minister, Khaled al-Attiya, arrived in Cairo for Arab League talks.

The payment brings the amount Egypt has returned to Qatar to $6 billion, leaving $500 million outstanding, which the official said would be paid back in the second half of 2015, Reuters reported.

Qatar helped support the Egyptian economy in the aftermath of the 2011 uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak.

Other Persian Gulf countries have filled the void, with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait providing $10.6 billion in aid last fiscal year, Egypt’s finance minister says.

A government source said earlier this month that Egypt had received another $1 billion grant from Kuwait.

Egypt has been hit by more than three years of political and economic turmoil following the 2011 uprising.

The government is trying to strike a balance between cutting its deficit while reviving economic growth, which remains too slow to create enough jobs for a youthful population of 86 million.

In an effort to ease the burden on its swelling budget deficit and minimize its need for Persian Gulf aid, Egypt’s government has introduced a raft of long-delayed reforms in recent months including subsidy cuts and tax hikes.