Egypt, the most populous Arab country, could issue about $2bn in international bonds and will start meeting international investors in the second or third week of November, according to finance minister Amr el-Garhy.

The size of the possible issuance is smaller than previously indicated by the North African nation, the minister told an American Chamber of Commerce event in Cairo. The government, in August, said it plans to sell bonds worth $3bn to $5bn in September.

“We’re talking about $2bn, give or take, but it will be in this range, depending on market circumstances,” media reports quoted El-Garhy as saying on 24 October in a television interview.

Egypt, once an energy exporter, has been struggling to revive its economy as oil and gas production declines. Tourism and foreign direct investments, the two main sources of revenue for the government, have also dried up in the wake of political instability since a popular uprising that saw the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak.

It is now negotiating billions of dollars in aids and loans from various countries and international lenders to boost economic activity.

El-Garhy last week said Egypt will gather the $6bn in additional bilateral funding it requires to push through the $12bn loan deal with the IMF within one or two weeks.

The fund has agreed to extend Egypt a $12bn, three-year loan, to help it tackle its currency issues and plug the budgetary gap. However, the agreement stipulates that Egypt secures $6bn in bilateral support before the IMF board approves the loan.

Egypt is relying mainly on Saudi Arabia and China to help it secure the additional funds. It received a $1bn deposit for a duration of six months from the UAE in September, as part of Cairo’s efforts to reach its target of $6bn financing.