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Protests greet IMF team in Egypt for tough financial rescue talks

Protests greet IMF team in Egypt for tough financial rescue talks
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There was an angry welcome in Egypt for a team from the International Monetary Fund, there to resume talks on vitally needed emergency funding in the country.

The government signed a preliminary deal for 3.75 billion euros last year, but put off the final details because of political unrest.

The protesters say the money will only benefit the rich and the deal should be stopped.

On the demonstration, former presidential candidate Khaled Ali said: “The Minister of Finance said they will sign the loan before the end of April, and the Minister for International Cooperation and Planning said that we will sign the loan before parliamentary elections, but I say to them: ‘You don’t have the right to do that’.”

Egypt’s finances are hitting dire levels.The country is running desperately low on foreign currency reserves and that is severely hampering its ability to buy wheat. Needless to say that’s not good for the world’s biggest wheat importer.

To secure the loan though, the IMF must be convinced that Egypt is serious about improving its balance sheet, and that implies painful tax rises and cuts in food and fuel subsidies.