The future of Egypt will be shaped by its citizens’ needs, said Egyptian Prime Minister His Excellency Sherif Ismail in a session of the World Government Summit (WGS 2016) today.
Her Excellency, Amal Al Qubaisi, Speaker of the National Federal Council and H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of presidential affairs attended a session on Egypt’s future. In the session moderated by Sky News Arabia’s Mohannad Al Khatib, the Egyptian Prime Minister reviewed a recent Egyptian government program and outlined the three main pillars of the Egyptian government’s focus: national security, the economy, and the continued role of Egypt as a leader in the Arab region.
On the issue of national security, Prime Minister Ismail said this was the first challenge that the Egyptian government needed to tackle based on the internal issues faced by Egypt as well as the Arab region as a whole from extremist groups.
Among the country’s economic concerns, Ismail cited unemployment, deficits, drawing local and foreign investments, and slow growth rates. He clarified that in tackling these economic issues, the Egyptian government places the needs of citizens as its top priority. “What we seek is to have growth felt by the citizen,” he said.
The Egyptian Prime Minister said he anticipates the country’s growth and development to gather quicker pace. “We hope to have results within a short period. We’re not talking about results in five or 10 years. We want to achieve positive results that will be felt by the citizen in three years.”
Speaking about the services the government would offer Egyptians in the coming future, Ismail said that general health services and education services are a major priority. He added that efforts will also be made to ensure that citizens with limited income enjoy equal access to such services.
When asked what kind of concrete results the people of Egypt can hope to see in terms of development and infrastructure, Ismail referred to the Egyptian government’s ambitious plan to complete one million housing units for those with limited income, over the next five years. He also referred to the strides that have been made in the energy and transport sectors in Egypt and said that developments would be expanded to cover more parts of Egypt.
Commenting on the role of the private sector in working alongside the government to develop these services, Ismail said, “This will require major investment and support from the government as well as funding from different sources. There is a major role for the private sector in this regard. We cannot operate without the private sector to achieve our goals.”
Asked about issues of corruption, His Excellency Sherif Ismail said the real corruption in Egypt occurs when infrastructure projects are obstructed, challenges faced by investors are not addressed and problems of bureaucracy are not solved. He argued that previous governments had not been able to solve many of these problems but the current government is taking all possible steps to implement innovative solutions, including strengthening online services for government agencies and facilitating easier interactions between citizens and the government through e-portals.
Commenting on the future of Egyptian youth, the Prime Minster said: “The current parliament has an unprecedented proportion of youth. In the government we have started to seek the counsel of youth as experts and we believe we will continue to seek the youth’s expertise to improve government programs in the future.” Currently, 60% of the Egyptian population is under the age of 25.
Highlighting the strengths that Egypt offers as a nation, the Prime Minister said “Egypt is a state of well-established institutions. We have well developed banking institutions. We have a large market – our population is more than 60 million. We have strong tourism and petroleum industries and our economy is extremely diverse.”
In his final remarks, His Excellency Sherif Ismail noted: “It is now time to devote more attention to the current religious discourse. Ignoring the discourse is what led to the rise of terrorism. This is among our main priorities in the coming days. I want to assure all Egyptians and our neighbors in the Gulf that we are tackling terrorism in a very strong way.”
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