Egypt, one of the world’s biggest wheat importers, is in talks with the UAE for a $400 million financing to help it purchase the commodity.

The funding would come from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, via tranches of $100 million, Egyptian Supply Minister Ali El-Mosilhy told Bloomberg on Thursday. 

He didn’t say when a deal is likely to be finalised. 

It would be a boost for the African nation, which is facing a dire shortage of foreign exchange and a cost-of-living crisis, partly as a result of soaring food prices related to the war in Ukraine.

Earlier this month, Egypt announced that Abu Dhabi wealth fund ADQ would invest $800 million in companies in its economy. Qatar has also looked bolster the nation’s economy.

El-Mosilhy criticised Russia’s exit from the Black Sea grain-export initiative and said it will continue to import Ukrainian wheat even after the collapse of the United Nations-backed agreement this week.

“We are not pleased with the Russian withdrawal from the UN grain-export deal,” El-Mosilhy said. He urged Moscow to reconsider its position.

Egypt’s economy has been negatively affected by an increase in grain prices since Russia invaded Ukraine last year. 

While global benchmark wheat futures had begun to moderate, they’ve surged this week after Russia terminated the export pact. 

The pact that had allowed Ukraine's grain to be exported safely over the Black Sea for the past year expired on Monday when Russia withdrew and warned that it could not ensure ship safety, a move that the United Nations said would "strike a blow to people in need everywhere."

Moscow has said that if demands for increased exports of its own grain and fertiliser were met, the Black Sea pact might be revived.

Russia said it would not prolong the grain pact after accusing the West of failing to fulfil a parallel memorandum aimed to facilitate Russia's agricultural and fertiliser exports.

The International Monetary Fund has said Russia's withdrawal from the agreement allowing Ukrainian exports via the Black Sea weakens the global food security outlook and risks increasing food prices, particularly in low-income countries.

(Editing by Seban Scaria )