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Tue 24 May 2011 06:15 PM

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Qatar plans $10bn in Egypt projects

Implementation of projects to begin immediately; Qatar also mulls buying Egyptian treasury bonds

Qatar plans $10bn in Egypt projects
The uprising caused Egypts tourism and investment revenue to dry up at a time when high popular expectations have increased the pressure on the budget (Getty Images)
Qatar plans $10bn in Egypt projects
The uprising caused tourism and investment revenue to dry up at a time when high popular expectations have increased the pressure on the budget (Getty Images)

Qatar is drawing up potential projects worth at least $10bn to help Egypt's economy after the popular uprising that ousted
president Hosni Mubarak in February, Al Ahram newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Egypt has been asking donors and the International Monetary
Fund to help to bridge an estimated $10-12bn balance of payments gap for
the fiscal year that begins on July 1, economists say.

In the last week, Saudi
Arabia, the US and other international donors have also pledged
assistance to Egypt.

The uprising caused tourism and investment revenue to dry up
at a time when high popular expectations have increased the pressure on the
budget.

Al Ahram quoted Qatar's ambassador to Cairo as saying a
Qatari delegation would hold talks in Cairo on Saturday to follow up on
projects broached during a visit by Qatar's emir, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa
Al Thani, earlier this month.

"I believe these projects, when implemented, will
surpass $10bn, and they will be productive products in Egypt,"
Al Ahram quoted Ambassdor Saleh Al Buainein as saying.

Implementation of the projects would begin immediately, he
said. Buainein said Qatar was also mulling purchases of Egyptian treasury
bonds, an idea that had been brought up by Egypt's finance minister Samir
Radwan during a recent visit to Qatar.

"The Egyptian and Qatari finance ministers are working
to agree on the suggested amount," Al Ahram cited him as saying.

Samir Radwan had earlier mentioned that Qatar's government
was prepared to finance a port in the western outskirts of Alexandria at
Malahat, which it said would be the world's largest, Al Ahram said.

Saudi Arabia has pledged a $4bn aid package to Egypt
that includes a $1bn deposit at the Central Bank of Egypt and $500m in bond purchases, Al Ahram newspaper reported on Sunday.

On Thursday, US president Barack Obama said he would
relieve Egypt of up to $1bn in debt and guarantee another $1bn in
borrowing to finance infrastructure and job creation.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said on
Saturday it would explore how to direct funds to Egypt and other Arab states in
the same way it supported communist states after the fall of the Iron Curtain
more than two decades ago.

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