CAIRO, March 30 — Saudi Arabia has deposited US$5 billion (RM21 billion) at Egypt’s central bank, according to state media in both countries, a day after Qatar pledged US$5 billion in investment and amid a surging wheat import bill. 

The Egyptian and Saudi governments have signed a draft agreement for Saudi investments in the country totalling a projected US$10 billion, according to a statement by the Egyptian cabinet. 

The announcements come as the North African country enacts a slate of financial measures to mitigate the economic fallout of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

As the world’s largest importer of wheat, Egypt relied on the two countries for 85 per cent of its supply, as well as 73 per cent of its sunflower oil.

Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli said his government is intent on “deepening economic and investment cooperation” with Saudi Arabia.

Egyptian state media reported the sizable deposit Wednesday, citing a statement by the Saudi Press Agency. 

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, implementing the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and His Highness the Crown Prince, has deposited US$5 billion into the Central Bank of Egypt,” the statement said.

This is the second major deposit inside five months, with Riyadh announcing last November it had deposited US$3 billion in Egypt’s central bank.

Yesterday, Egypt’s cabinet also announced that Qatar is to plough US$5 billion into “investments and partnerships” in Egypt, without giving specifics.

As a result of a hike in food prices, inflation soared to an almost three-year high of 10 per cent in February.

On March 21, the Egyptian pound plunged nearly 17 per cent in value against the US dollar, as the finance ministry announced a US$7 billion relief package to shield society’s most vulnerable.

Two days later, the International Monetary Fund said Egypt had applied for a new loan package. — AFP