“Sustained and bold reforms, prudent macroeconomic management, and a favourable external environment enabled the Egyptian economy to register another year of impressive performance,” says the IMF following the conclusion of its Article IV consultation with the country.

“Growth remained high and has become more broad-based, creating record numbers of jobs. Inflation has returned to single digits after spiking during the year through March 2007. Investor confidence remains high,” the IMF adds.

GDP growth for 2006/07 is estimated at 7.1 per cent, the highest in years. Unemployment fell to 9 per cent from 10.5 per cent the previous year. High levels of foreign direct investment resulted in a $5.3bn balance of payments surplus.

Having risen to 12.8 per cent in March 2007, consumer price index inflation fell to 8.5 per cent in August.