Pakistan secures preliminary deal for $6bn IMF bailout

A Pakistani vendor sells bananas along a street in Rawalpindi. Pakistan's growth rate is set to hit an eight-year low, a government report predicted on May 10, with all major indicators down as the country continues negotiating its 22nd bailout from the IMF. (AFP)
Updated 12 May 2019
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Pakistan secures preliminary deal for $6bn IMF bailout

ISLAMABAD: The International Monetary Fund said Sunday it reached a preliminary agreement with Pakistan for a $6 billion bailout over the next three years to finance sweeping economic reforms.
Pakistan and the international lender reached a "staff level agreement" subject to approval by the IMF management and the executive board, IMF envoy Ernesto Ramirez Rigo said in a statement.
He said the IMF program aims to support Pakistan's strategy for "stronger and more balanced growth by reducing domestic and external imbalances, improving the business environment, strengthening institutions, increasing transparency, and protecting social spending."
Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, an economic adviser to Prime Minister Imran Khan, confirmed that his country had reached a preliminary deal with the IMF.
Pakistan had initially sought an $8 billion bailout to address a long-running fiscal crisis and has held months of talks with the IMF.
The U.S., which exerts major influence over the IMF, has said it should not finance the tens of billions of dollars in loans that Pakistan has taken from China as part of Beijing's worldwide Belt and Road Initiative. It was not immediately clear if the U.S. would support the agreement announced Sunday. Pakistani authorities have said they are in touch with Washington and are seeking its support.


Egypt inks deal with Cyprus for power link to Europe

Updated 23 May 2019
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Egypt inks deal with Cyprus for power link to Europe

  • It is estimated the project will take 36 months to implement from the start of construction, with the lowest point 3,000 meters below sea-level
  • Phase 1 will see the interconnector carry a capacity of 1,000 MW which can be upgraded to 2,000 MW at a later stage

NICOSIA: Egypt has signed a deal with a Cypriot firm to lay a 310-kilometer (195-mile) cable under the Mediterranean to export electricity to Europe, the company said on Thursday.
Nicosia-based EuroAfrica described the deal, worth an estimated two billion euros, as a “landmark.”
“Cyprus now becomes a major hub for the transmission of electricity from Africa to Europe,” said company chairman Ioannis Kasoulides.
It is estimated the project will take 36 months to implement from the start of construction, with the lowest point 3,000 meters below sea-level.
Phase 1 will see the interconnector carry a capacity of 1,000 MW which can be upgraded to 2,000 MW at a later stage.
“The national electricity grid of Egypt will be linked to the European electricity system through Cyprus and will contribute to energy security,” Kasoulides said.
Following the crises in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, the EU has been keen to develop alternative sources of energy to reduce its dependence on imports from Russia.
In the past year, gas has started flowing from four major new fields off Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, and output is already sufficient to meet domestic needs.
The Arab world’s most populous country is now seeking to develop the infrastructure to export its newfound energy wealth, both as liquefied natural gas and as electricity.
Egypt is also seeking to import gas from fields off Cyprus and Israel to boost the profitability of the new liquefaction and export facilities it is developing on its Mediterranean coast.
In September, Egypt signed a deal with Cyprus to build an undersea pipeline to pump Cypriot offshore gas to Egypt for processing for export to Europe.
The plans have led to closer eastern Mediterranean ties, with Cyprus, Egypt, Greece and Israel holding regular high-level meetings.