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Qatar: No more financial aid for Egypt


Egyptian protesters run for cover from tear gas fired by riot police during clashes in Cairo, on March 8, 2013. Egyptian Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim sacked the riot police chief amid strikes by policemen who complained they are ill-equipped to confront protesters, state media reported.



CAIRO, Egypt — Qatar's Finance Minister Youssef Kamal announced on Monday that Qatar does not expect to provide more financial aid to Egypt in the near future.

"We already announced LE3 billion (US$5 billion)," Kamal told Reuters. In response to a question about whether Qatar expected to give Egypt more aid, he said, "Not yet."

Qatar has been a vital source of foreign aid for Egypt, since the 2011 revolution threw the country into economic turmoil.

As Egypt’s political crisis deepens – with ongoing protests and an unprecedented police strike – so does the country’s economic turmoil.

Egypt’s economy has been in dire straits since an uprising toppled former president, Hosni Mubarak, two years ago, with foreign reserves tumbling and tourism, one of the nation’s top currency earners, on a steep decline.

But with elections delayed, an IMF deal in jeopardy, and inflation on the rise, the economy looks like it is edging closer to catastrophe. In addition to the loss of its new patron, Qatar, the Egyptian government announced it would not be accepting any “stop-gap” funds from the IMF to help bridge the economy from its current downturn to a more comprehensive reform program later in the year.

"The cure for the budget deficit needs broad structural measures and the help we are requesting from the IMF is not quick fixes," said al-Araby, according to Reuters.

The moves come as urban consumer inflation jumped 8.2 percent year-on-year to February. Annual core inflation rose 7.68 percent, according to the Central Bank. And with Egypt’s pound losing significant value against the dollar, prices for imported and consumer goods are slipping out of the reach of many ordinary Egyptians. Data released on Sunday showed that prices in towns and cities rose 8.2 percent, from last February to this February. According to Reuters, the prices of food and drink rose 9.3 percent year-on-year in February.

The growing poverty is likely to stir continued social unrest, which the government appears ill-prepared to deal with.