CAIRO - The Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) has begun dispersing a $3 billion credit facility extension with Egypt to finance food and energy imports and stands ready to provide more support in the future, the group's CEO said on Thursday.

With wheat prices driven higher by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the amount of the financing Egypt spends on food security was expected to rise to about the same share as spending on energy, Hani Sonbol said in an interview in Cairo.

The Saudi-based ITFC has provided some $14 billion to Egypt under five framework agreements since 2008. This month it signed an extension of the latest agreement, doubling its value to $6 billion.

In recent months rising global commodity prices and the flight of billions in portfolio investments have piled financial pressure on Egypt, one of the world's top wheat importers.

Sonbol said many countries were looking for support.

"We've had really a huge list of demands coming," he said, speaking on the sidelines of a banking conference. "It looks like we are seeing a lot of demand for the remainder of the year and also in 2023."

Those included a request for funding food supplies from Tunisia under consideration by the ITFC, Sonbol said.

The corporation is also preparing a programme that should be launched this year to help former Soviet republics of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) weather economic headwinds, Sonbol said, without giving further details.

Western sanctions against Russia had created some initial uncertainty but were not affecting ITFC programmes, he said.

The corporation wanted to encourage greater self-sufficiency in countries with large import bills but it felt "very comfortable" working with Egypt and would be ready to provide more financing once the current facility ended.

"As soon as we finish this one we'll sign the next one," Sonbol said, adding that it was unclear when that could happen. "We are here to support."

(Reporting by Aidan Lewis; editing by David Evans)