Egypt has received a $2 billion emergency loan from Qatar that will be used to breathe life into the country’s ailing economy.
MENA, Egypt’s official news agency, reported the development on Saturday, as Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, held talks with the country’s recently elected president, Mohamed Mursi in Cairo.
The meeting marked the emir’s first visit to Egypt since the ousting of Hosni Mubarak last year.
Qatar boasts strong ties to the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), the Islamist organisation of which Mursi was a prominent member prior to his election. Qatar has previously hosted a number of MB activists and provided financial and logistical support to the organisation, an approach that sets the resource-rich country at odds with fellow GCC members the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which have traditionally shunned the group.
Egypt’s economy has spiralled downwards in the past 12 months, with foreign investors abandoning the country in the wake of Mubarak’s ousting.
As a result, the country has called on foreign benefactors to prop up its economy. In addition to receiving a loan of $1bn from Saudi Arabia in May, Egypt has approached the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a $3.2bn loan. The IMF has demanded Mursi’s government develop a comprehensive economic recovery plan as a prerequisite for receiving the aid package.