World Bank chief hopes to maintain Egypt aid programme

SANTIAGO (AFP) - World Bank chief Jim Yong Kim has said he hopes Egypt's loan and assistance programme will continue despite the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi, but called for progress towards new elections "as quickly as possible".

"We are in the middle right now of trying to understand just what did happen and what the legal status is of the government in place," Mr Kim said at a press conference at Chile's government palace on Thursday, after he met with President Sebastian Pinera.

The World Bank has offered loans and grants, mainly for aid programs, to the tune of US$4.7 billion (S$6 billion), Mr Kim said.

"We really urge to everyone to stay calm, to have a dialogue, and to move as quickly as possible to having real elections.

"Our hope is we will be able to continue with our programmes that provide essential services and essential support for some of the poorest people in Egypt."

The Egyptian army toppled Mr Mursi - who remains in custody - on Wednesday, after a week of deadly violence amid massive street protests. Top judge Adly Mansour was sworn in on Thursday as temporary president.