Obama to offer debt relief to Egypt in Mideast speech

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama will unveil an economic aid program for Egypt and Tunisia on Thursday as part of a broad effort to support democratic reform in the Middle East and North Africa, US officials said.
Senior advisers to Obama, previewing parts of his speech, said on Wednesday the United States would offer debt relief totaling roughly $1 billion over a few years to Egypt through a debt swap mechanism that would invest the money to boost youth employment and support entrepreneurs.
Washington would also loan or guarantee loans totaling up to $1 billion for Egypt to finance infrastructure development and boost jobs through the Overseas Private Investment Corp (OPIC), the officials told reporters on a conference call.
The administration would also seek to foster trade in the region and encourage private sector investment, they said.