International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde told Egypt’s new president Mohammed Morsi that the crisis lender was ready to help Cairo, an IMF spokeswoman said Friday.
Lagarde spoke to Morsi by phone on Thursday to congratulate him on his election, “which represents an important step forward in Egypt’s transition,” the spokeswoman said.
“They discussed Egypt’s economic situation and how best the IMF could help in the period ahead.”
Lagarde “reiterated that the IMF stands ready to support Egypt and looks forward to working closely with the authorities.”
Since late last year the IMF has been discussing with the country’s interim leadership a possible $3.2 billion loan with Cairo to help it bridge fiscal shortfalls while restructuring the economy and financial system.
But a permanent government needed to be in place to firm up the loan program, and the IMF stressed in April that it needed “a broad buy-in” from various constituencies in the country to the program, which will require significant structural reforms.
Morsi paid tribute on Friday to Egypt’s Muslims and Christians alike and symbolically swore himself in as the country’s first elected civilian president before a huge crowd at Tahrir Square.
Media reports said Morsi was consulting a cross-section of Egyptian society before appointing a premier and a cabinet mostly made up of technocrats.