ernment with a full commitment to the
independence of the judiciary and to
preventing any attempts to influence its
rulings or interfere in its affairs.
With the completion of the roadmap,
and with the presence of other solid,
well-established institutions such as the
judiciary, the military, the foreign service,
and others, the structure of a new modern
Egypt is almost completed. The focus at
this turning point of Egypt’s history is to
restore the functionality of the Egyptian
economy through an extensive agenda
for economic and social reforms, coupled
with the ongoing political reforms.
OGFJ: In an interview you gave about
two years ago, you said that the people
on the streets in 2011 were protesting to
ensure that the command of their country did not become a “hereditary” issue.
But today, they wanted their leaders to
deliver housing, jobs, and a decent life.
What economic reforms and key sectors
are needed in order to secure a more
prosperous future for Egyptians?
PRESIDEN T EL SISI: When the Egyptian
people took to the streets in 2011, they
had specific demands for change. They
wanted better opportunities, a fairer distribution of wealth, and a decent quality
of living. The protests were not merely
politically charged but were also driven
by aspirations for better economic and
social conditions. When they realized
that their revolution was hijacked by a
group that had failed to fulfill their aspirations, they went back to the streets in
June 2013 to restore their right to determine their future.
The past six years have been over-
whelmingly challenging at all levels. We
were faced with an ailing economy that
had inherited chronic imbalances, cou-
pled with a drastic fall in foreign exchange
reserves and foreign direct investment,
as a result of political instability. This had
to be immediately addressed to restore
confidence in the Egyptian economy. The
government adopted measures to revive
the economy and to address budget and
structural imbalances through the im-
plementation of a homegrown economic
reform program as well as “Egypt’s Vision 2030” for sustainable development.
The reform program, which included severe measures to cut down subsidies, ra-
tionalize expenditure ,and float the currency, paved the way for the IMF to approve
a $12 billion loan to support Egypt’s economic reform program and to restore inter-
national confidence in the economy. This will encourage foreign investment and
create more business and jobs, especially for the youth.
We have improved the infrastructure by upgrading the road network and addressed
longstanding energy shortages. The New Suez Canal was completed as part of a more
ambitious project, the Suez Canal Area Development Project, to establish it as a major
logistics hub and to enhance Egypt’s trade position. Our development endeavors also
included the reclamation of 1. 5 million acres of a bigger project to improve Egypt’s
agriculture and to create jobs. Providing adequate housing units for the middle and
limited income brackets has been a key priority. Our development plan targets all
parts of Egypt, some of which have been marginalized in the past, by constructing
new integrated cities to deliver better services. In parallel, we are also working on
improving our social safety nets to mitigate the impact of some of the harsh economic
decisions on the more vulnerable groups.
These projects have created thousands of direct and indirect jobs. In addition, the
government supports small and medium-sized enterprises by allocating 200 billion
Egyptian pounds to help the youth establish projects and offer them assistance.
Creating better social and economic conditions is an integral part of our comprehen-
sive strategy to combat both extremism and terrorism.
There is much more work ahead of us before we realize our development goals.
Our progress is nevertheless significant in light of the turbulent regional situation and
our fierce battle against terrorism.
OGFJ: What role can private foreign investment play to ensure a positive outcome?
Given that investor confidence has been deeply shaken in recent years, what
safeguards are being put in place to reassure investors about the security of their
PRESIDEN T EL SISI: One of the main reasons that led to a slowdown in the economy
was a decline of foreign investment due to political instability following the January
25 revolution. FDI reached its lowest level in 2011 and slowly began to improve in the
following years when security and stability were restored, particularly with the completion of the “Roadmap for the Future.” In 2015, FDI reached $6.8 billion and we are
working to further increase this figure. Security was a major concern for foreign investors that we are seriously addressing in order to provide a safe and conducive
climate for business and investment. In spite of the ferocious battle we are fighting
against terrorism, we are capitalizing on every single opportunity to ensure that Egypt
is a safe destination for foreign investment.
“There is also emphasis on combating corruption
by strengthening the role of regulatory bodies,
namely the Administrative Control Authority.
This reinforces the rule of law and reassures
investors that their rights are protected. I believe
considerable progress has been made, particularly
in the past two years, and companies have decided
to increase their investment and scope of activities,
which consequently help create more jobs.”