Egypt to get $1.1 bln from ITFC to fund commodities imports

Egypt’s Supply Minister Ali Moselhy speaks to the media during a news conference about the launch of the Government’s local wheat harvest in Beni Suef, south of Cairo, Egypt April 24, 2017. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

CAIRO (Reuters) – The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) will provide $1.1 billion of funding to help Egypt with imports of petroleum products and basic commodities in 2020, Egypt’s petroleum and supply ministries said on Wednesday.

The funds are part of a $3 billion agreement between Egypt and ITFC signed in January 2018.

Last year, acute shortages of foreign currency caused delays in some payments by Egypt’s General Authority for Supply commodities (GASC), which was a signatory to the deal, to global suppliers.

The financing at the time ensured dollars were available for the state buyer to use for payment at some of its international purchasing tenders.

Cairo pays around $1.5 billion annually for grain as part of a bread subsidy programme on which many of Egypt’s almost 100 million people depend. Egypt is the world’s largest wheat importer.

“This agreement is a genuine partnership with the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation in order to provide more basic goods to citizens,” Supply Minister Ali Moselhy said in a statement, which did not specify what portion of the money would be allocated to wheat purchases.

Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO of ITFC, said the agreement would also support the “Better Cotton Initiative,” a programme being implemented by the U.N. Industrial Development Organisation.

Reporting by Ehab Farouk; Writing by Yousef Saba; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Mark Potter

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