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IMF ready to help Egypt, Lagarde tells president-elect

IMF chief Christine Lagarde has personally congratulated Egypt's President-elect Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and stressed the global lender remains ready to help the country, the IMF said.

WASHINGTON: International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde has personally congratulated Egypt's President-elect Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and stressed the global lender remains ready to help the country, the IMF said on Friday.

"IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde spoke to Egyptian President-elect Sisi by phone yesterday to congratulate him on his election," a spokeswoman said in an email to AFP.

"The discussion focused on economic issues, and the managing director reiterated the Fund's continued commitment to help Egypt and its people."

Sisi, who won nearly 97 per cent of the vote in last week's polls, faces a tough task to restore stability and revive a battered economy amid fears of a return to autocracy. He is to be sworn in Sunday.

The IMF had been in talks on a US$4.8 billion bailout package for Egypt, which has been coping with violence and economic woes since the 2011 overthrow of president Hosni Mubarak.

But the discussions broke off last year due to political instability after the military overthrew the country's first freely elected leader, Mohamed Morsi.

On Thursday, an IMF spokesman said the global lender is providing technical assistance on tax issues and other matters to Egypt, and an IMF technical team had been in Cairo from April 27 to May 2.

"Broadly we stand ready to support Egypt and we look forward to engaging in a dialogue with the authorities on the policy actions and wide ranging structural reforms needed to address the challenges ahead," spokesman Gerry Rice said.

The spokesman said that Egyptian authorities and the IMF agreed in April, to hold an IMF review of Egypt's economy, known as an Article IV consultation, after the presidential election.

No mission dates have been scheduled yet for the review, he said.

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