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Egypt has asked for a $ 4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, which stressed the need for a reform programme to deal with the country’s economic crisis. The request was made during a visit by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde to Cairo, where she met President Muhammad Morsi and Prime Minister Hisham Qandil. “The loan in general terms is worth $ 3.2 billion. We talked about increasing it up to probably 4.8 and maybe more,” Qandil told a joint news conference with Lagarde. He said Egypt was seeking a signing by the end of 2012 of a loan agreement based on an interest rate of 1.1 per cent and a five-year repayment period following a 39-month grace period.
Lagarde said in a statement: “The authorities have indicated that Egypt would like the IMF to support Egypt’s economic programme to lay the foundation for strong growth that benefits all.” “Getting the country’s economy back on track and raising the living standards for all will not be an easy task,” she said, adding that IMF had been “very impressed” with the strategy and ambition that Morsi and his prime minister had laid out in their meetings.