Egypt to seek $2bn aid from Algeria – report

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Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil gestures during a press conference to announce the new cabinet on 2 August in Cairo, Egypt. Photo – Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images

An unnamed Egyptian government official said Prime Minister Hisham Kandil will hold talks with Algerian government to seek aid worth $2 billion during a visit to Algeria, an Egyptian newspaper reported on Monday.

Egypt is struggling for funds to bring down its budget deficit and avert a defaulting on its payments until a $4.8 billion loan is secured from the International Monetary Fund.

Reuters quoted two unnamed official sources as saying that Cairo was seeking aid from the fellow north African state. There was no word about the form of the assistance though. One official confirmed the amount in question was around $2 billion.

“An official source said that Egypt will negotiate a deposit worth $2 billion to be put in the central bank and that negotiations that prime minister Hisham Kandil will do today with Algerian prime minister Abdelmalek Sellal will involve this subject,” Egyptian newspaper al-Masry al-Youm quoted its source as saying. No further details were given.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar have made transfers since June that helped Egypt’s Islamist government shore up state finances weakened by more than a year of economic turmoil since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

Strong demand for natural gas and relatively high world energy prices have helped Algeria add this year to a foreign exchange reserve pile that was worth more than $186 billion at the end of June.

The newspaper added that Kandil’s visit was also aimed at solving a shortage of butane cooking gas in Egypt, which counts Algeria among its top suppliers.

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