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Egypt reaps $5.6bn from expansion of Suez Canal

Egypt is reaping bountifully from its strategic investments on the Suez Canal, a major shipping route for international maritime. President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi had envisioned the expansion of the canal as a major boost to the economy.

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Egypt is reaping bountifully from its strategic investments on the Suez Canal, a major shipping route for international maritime. President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi had envisioned the expansion of the canal as a major boost to the economy.

The North African country’s revenue from the Suez Canal for the 2017-2018 financial year rose 11.5 per cent to a record high $5.585 billion (Dh20.5 billion), the canal authority said in a statement on its website on Sunday.

The financial year has not yet finished, however. Egypt’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to the end of June.

The canal authority did not explain why it had released figures ahead of the end of the fiscal year.

It announced on Saturday increased revenue in May, and predicted a record yearly figure, attributing this to increased international trade and improvements in the shipping industry.

Egypt under President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi invested in an expansion of the Suez Canal which began in 2014, one of the former military commander’s mega-projects designed to revive an ailing economy and restore the country’s place as an important trade hub.

Egypt’s finances were hit badly by unrest that followed a 2011 popular uprising which toppled longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.

Critics have slammed some projects, including the Suez expansion, as a waste of money.

Cairo is also imposing a raft of harsh austerity measures tied to a $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which some economists say are helping get the economy back on track, but which have hit ordinary Egyptians hard.

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Nigeria wants $2.25 billion World Bank loan

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Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Wale Edun, has revealed that the country is seeking up to $2.25 billion in World Bank loans and expects the bank’s board to approve the request in June.

The move was announced in a statement following the International Monetary Fund/World Bank spring meetings in Washington, D.C as the country also aims to issue diaspora bonds later this year to attract much-need foreign exchange into the country.

The World Bank loans would include $1.5 billion for development policy and $750 million for program-for-results, the statement said. It also said that the bank would meet in June to decide whether to approve the plan in its entirety.

The multilateral body is yet to comment on the revelation at press time.

Nigeria one of Africa’s biggest oil producers has struggled lately mainly over industrial-scale crude oil theft, and troubles getting foreign currency, which caused its naira currency to drop to all-time lows against the U.S. dollar. It has since recovered, though.

Already, the country is on record levels of debt, high unemployment, and large amounts of money from the central bank. However, Edun has insisted that the government had cut the money it borrowed from the central bank in half.

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Ghana’s finance minister anticipates debt restructuring MoU with lenders

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Ghana’s Finance Minister has announced that the country’s two main creditors will send him a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on a restructuring deal in May, signifying a major progress in the country’s debt reform.

Once the MoU is signed, it will make public the deal that was made in January to restructure $5.4 billion in loans with its official creditors, such as China and France.

The restructuring is a big step toward Ghana getting rid of its debt as it works to get out of the worst economic crisis in a generation. It should also allow the country to get more money from its $3 billion IMF program.

Mohammed Amin Adam said he was sure the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank would work together at the Spring Meetings in Washington, D.C. In June, the Monetary Fund’s executive board will agree to review its staff-level deal.

From 2023 to 2028, Ghana’s national debt to gross domestic product level was supposed to go down by 15%. This guess says that the number will have gone down every year for six years, ending at 69.96% in 2028.

Ghana didn’t pay back most of its foreign loans in December 2022 because it became too expensive to do so. But now it needs to work out a deal with private holders of about $13 billion in foreign bonds. It has also changed most of its domestic debt.

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