CAIRO - International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde met with Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday to discuss a loan from the international lender, MENA news agency reported.

The talks centred on the Egyptian government’s plans to reform and relaunch the national economy, as well as a “loan request of $4.8 billion,” the official news agency said.

Since late last year, the IMF has been discussing a possible $3.2 billion loan with the country’s interim leadership to help it bridge fiscal shortfalls while restructuring the economy and financial system.

The new figure of $4.8 billion cited by MENA indicates that Egypt is courting increased funding from the international lender.

The visit comes as Morsi, the country’s first Islamist president, moves to consolidate power in the wake of his election in June and after more than a year of instability prevented the IMF from proceeding with loan talks.

A permanent government needed to be in place first to firm up the loan programme, which will require significant structural reforms.

And in April, the IMF stressed it needed “a broad buy-in” to the programme from various constituencies in the country.

The IMF announced Lagarde’s visit last week, calling it a “reflection of the IMF’s continuous commitment to support Egypt and its people during this historic period of transition.”