The Executive Board of the IMF approved Egypt’s request for emergency financial assistance of US$ 2.772 billion to meet the urgent balance of payments needs stemming from the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the Executive Board discussion, Mr. Geoffrey Okamoto, First Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, made the following statement:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically disrupted people’s lives, livelihoods, and economic conditions in Egypt. The global shock has resulted in a tourism standstill, significant capital flight, and a slowdown in remittances, resulting in an urgent balance of payments need.
The Egyptian National Action Group (ENAG) accused the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in a statement;
(ENAG): The IMF GIVES CARTE BLANCHE TO SISI’S JUNTA – DESPITE TRIPLED DEBT, CORRUPTION AND APPALLING HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD
The Egyptian National Action Group denounces the refusal of the IMF to take into account its calls for conditioning any further loan to Egypt to basic check-and-balance and human rights criteria. IMF Executive Board members misused their immense political power and again, supported a dictatorship without even challenging how the international funds will be used.
- Requesting transparency, accountability and human rights from a state benefiting from billions of public money from a UN dependent financial institution should not be seen as political but as a bare minimum.
As a reminder:
- Egypt received US$12 Billion in 2016-19 along with several dozens of billions from the Gulf countries as well as the US and Europe. However, Egyptians are poorer by almost 20% and 6 Egyptians out of 10 are considered as either poor or vulnerable by the World Bank itself. Due to the IMF requested reforms, the most destitute can no longer rely on State subsidies for their basic needs.
- Also, the 2016-2019 IMF program aimed at “restoring macroeconomic stability and return Egypt to strong and sustainable growth.” including “bringing down the budget deficit and government debt”. However, in 2013, Egypt’s external debt was USD 43 Billion. It has now reached more than USD 110 Billion.
On April 29th, we distributed a statement calling for the IMF to “listen to other voices than the regime’s, to watch much more closely how their funds have been used so far and to realise that their money has mostly funded corruption and the military economy but certainly not the real economy and the private sector” and asking the IMF how they will make sure that none of this money will go into Sisi or some generals’ bank accounts.
On May 8th, ahead of today’s meeting, we wrote to each member of the IMF Executive Board to encourage them to “take this opportunity to truly support our country’s development. This means to condition these loans onto a number of criterias which will make sure the funds will genuinely impact the lives of 100 millions Egyptians instead of a despotic regime.”We further developed these criteria in two groups:
CHECKS AND BALANCES
- Detailed description, breakdown and justification in advance on how these funds will be allocated and how they will impact the real lives of Egyptians
- Evaluation on a regular basis by independent experts
- Publicly reporting any wrongdoing along with potential progress
- Making sure ALL the information is available to the public, including in Egypt
DEMOCRACY and HUMAN RIGHTS
- The immediate release of all the political prisoners in line with the recommendations of the UN High Representative for Human Rights
- The abrogation of all the liberticide laws adopted under Sisi’s tenure with a strong focus on anti-terrorism laws, NGO laws and state of emergency laws
- The concrete opening of a political window to restore a genuine democratic life in Egypt.
Today, the IMF has let millions of Egyptians down. This US$2.772 Billion will add to the debt burden without helping any of us, apart from a handful of generals.”
The Egyptian National Action Group
11 May 2020