Massive SACE loan from Italy to Egypt

(Middle East Eye, London, 11 December 2020) Government sources in Egypt familiar with economic and military cooperation with Italy have revealed that an agreement is imminent between the Egyptian government and the Italian Export Credit Agency (Sace), reported Al Araby Al Jadeed. The agreement would clear the way for Egypt to obtain a loan of more than 5bn euros ($6 bn), which would be financed by a number of Italian and European banks, the news website said. The loan would be disbursed in phases during the current and following fiscal years and used to finance half of the amount required in the Italian-Egyptian arms deal, worth about 11bn euros ($13.3 bn), according to the sources. The sources said that Egypt had previously purchased two Italian multipurpose frigates (FREMM) as part of the deal worth 1.2bn euros ($1.45bn), of which 500m  euros ($605m) were a loan from Italy to the Egyptian Ministry of Defence. The new loan would increase the interest rate by about five percent over the previous one. However, the sources refused to disclose the interest rate that had been agreed upon. Any new deal would impose significant economic burdens on Egypt for about seven years, with the Ministry of Defence paying the largest instalment of the value of these loans, according to the sources.