CAIRO - Egypt's foreign debt climbed by $3.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2023 to $168.0 billion, data on the planning ministry website showed.

It ended September with total external debt of $164.5 billion, equivalent to 42.4% of gross domestic product, the central bank said earlier this year. Some 81.6% of that was long-term debt.

Egypt quadrupled its foreign borrowing over the past 10 years as it poured money into state projects. Last month it secured a $8 billion financial support package from the International Monetary Fund.

Finance Minister Mohamed Maait projected on Tuesday that GDP would grow 2.8% in the fiscal year to end-June and by 4.2% next year. The IMF has forecast GPD growth of 3.0% in calendar 2024.

(Reporting by Patrick Werr; Editing by Richard Chang)