(Adds details, background)
CAIRO Feb 18 Egypt's central bank said on
Tuesday it would allocate 10 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.44
billion) for low-cost housing projects, one of the demands in
protests that led to the ouster of autocratic President Hosni
Mubarak in 2011.
Better living conditions, an end to official corruption and
more democratic rights figured prominently in those protests.
About half of Egypt's 85 million people live under the poverty
line, many in slums with no access to clean water or sewage.
Mubarak's ouster drove the state into a deeper economic and
political crisis. Last July, the army ousted Islamist President
Mohamed Mursi, who was elected in 2012, after protests against
his rule that failed to enact economic reforms.
The three-year turmoil led to a sharp fall in foreign
reserves and currency value.
The central bank said its investment in low-cost housing
should have a positive effect on the state's economic growth and
The money will be deposited to banks for 20 years at a low
interest rate to lend it to citizens who qualify to buy houses
at a yearly interest rate of 7-8 percent. Inflation is currently
running over 11 percent.
($1 = 6.9611 Egyptian pounds)
(Reporting by Ehab Farouk and Shadia Nasralla; Writing by
Yasmine Saleh; Editing by Tom Heneghan)