By Barakat Abdelsattar *
Egypt’s economic success under President El Sisi
Despite the traditional historical relations between Egypt and Greece, these relations reached an unprecedented level during the governance of President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi with the establishment of the tripartite cooperation between Greece, Cyprus and Egyptwhich kicked off in Cairo in 2014 and signaled the beginning of successive summits and effective cooperation between Cairo, Athens and Nicosia. A cooperation that evolved into various fields for the benefit of the peoples of the three countries and the peoples of the countries of the region.
During these days, with Greece celebration the national “OCHI” (NO) day of 1940, Egypt is also celebrating the anniversary of the glorious October 6 victory in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
It is worth noting the close relations between the two countries, as the eternal presence of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, the Greek communities in Egypt, the important business activities of a significant number of Greek companies in Egypt and the complementarity of the two countries for stability and development of the wider in their common neighborhood highlight the two countries natural strategic partners.
Egypt has faced many challenges throughout its history that have in one way or another hindered its development, yet it has overcome these obstacles, taking advantage of its unique geographical location that has played a vital role of importance. Perhaps what Egypt has been going through since 2011 constitutes tangible proof of this, following the accumulation of many economic issues, and with a new growing vision for resolving these issues since 2013, many structural economic programs that are fundamentally different from the previous governments. These programs focused on tackling the root causes and threats, in addition to tackling future issues with all the tools available at its disposal.
Under the leadership of President El-Sisi, Egypt succeeded for the first time in its history in converting consumer spending into productive spending for the full construction and development of the country’s infrastructure (Roads, bridges, recovery and cultivation of hundreds of thousands of acres, supply housing for poor and middle-income citizens, the establishment of a new administrative capital, the upgrading of factories, the upgrading of informal settlements, the continuation of the opening of mass production projects in different Governments and the continuation of the digital transformation of the government of a modern country and to meet internal and external challenges).
President Sisi oversees the implementation of an economic reform program launched in 2017 to ensure better economic progress and improved living conditions for citizens. The program aims to ensure that support reaches those who are eligible for assistance. IMF reports have shown that economic conditions have improved significantly since the launch of the reform program, which has helped liberalize the exchange rate, accelerate growth, reduce internal and external budget deficits, increase the monetary reserve and reduce unemployment rates to 8.3%.
Despite the positive indicators reflected in the implementation of the economic reform program, some living burdens appeared due to the short-term abolition of subsidies, but it did not affect the stability of the situation internally in the light of citizens’ trust in government policies, which embodies a vital factor in the financial reform programm proposed by the World Bank and implemented in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund. For example, despite rising transport costs in Egypt, it is still one of the cheapest countries in the world for transport costs (for example the subway ticket ), although operating costs are very high.
Undoubtedly, the outbreak of the “COVID-19” pandemic affected the economies of the whole world. However, despite the pressure on all state-funded national projects, the international financial institutions have unanimously agreed on Egypt’s success – in a limited number of countries around the world – in achieving a positive growth rate during the crisis and the challenge it faces and in balancing the continuity of the development process and absorbing the challenges posed by this crisis, as the Egyptian government has allocated large sums of money from the state budget for the development of the health and education sectors, in addition to financial subsidies, to help day-to-day workers and families most affected by the coronavirus crisis.
In recent years, the Egyptian government has focused on addressing the shortcomings in the Egyptian economic indicators, as well as the social problems that arose from it. The government is also trying, for the first time in the history of Egypt, to provide an accurate digital registration of real estate and agricultural to help solve the problem of erosion of agricultural land and alleviate the crisis of facilities that arose from the exploitation of the events of the 2011 revolution, constructing random and illegal agricultural lands.
Therefore, it was pointed out how important the task of investing in giant government infrastructure projects is, especially those related to the construction sector, which is the engine of growth of the Egyptian economy, during the crisis caused by COVID-19, as it contributed mainly to achieving a positive growth rate during the fiscal year 2019/2020, that reached 3.5%.
At a social level, President El-Sisi also outlined his work agenda for investing in the Egyptian people since his re-election in 2018, which has translated into the field of investing in state resources, especially to the benefit of health and education. These two sectors, in addition to investing in the capabilities of the engineering department of the Armed Forces to build national projects, given their extensive experience, in particular the commitment to complete these projects on time and at the lowest possible cost, in cooperation with the private sector in a way that adds job opportunities and experiences for the youth of Egypt.
It is important not to overlook the attack by some countries on the role of military institutions in political life, which is defined as zero, given that the military institution is primarily a national institution characterized by discipline and the ability to achieve without bureaucratic obstacles.
Despite the challenges and difficulties and the attempts of demolition, sabotage and incitement by governments, organizations and terrorist forces trying to hinder the progress of the Egyptian state in the course of construction and reconstruction and the progress of civilian life, nonetheless the divine care who preserved the land of Egypt over time – the name of Egypt mentioned in his divine books -, the wisdom of the political leadership and the awareness of the Egyptian people are all an impenetrable wall against the forces of evil and darkness. / ibna
* Barakat Abdelsattar is the Director of the office of the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram in Greece