18 April 2024 05:49 AM

Egypt hopes for reaching legally binding deal on GERD

Monday، 17 January 2022 - 10:53 AM

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli has reaffirmed that Cairo is keen to reach a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in the manner that causes no harm to the interests of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan. 

In his interview with BBC, the premier reiterated on Sunday that the three countries will serve the interests of their peoples if they could reach an agreement on GERD instead of having any differences or conflicts. 

Egypt always does not oppose any development plans of any country of the Nile Basin provided that such projects cause no harm to Egypt's water-linked rights, he said. 

The premier asserted that Egypt monitor the GERD issue closely and thoroughly through all possible diplomatic and political channels to ensure that Ethiopia's steps cause no harm to the Egyptian state.

On youth empowerment, Madbouli stressed that the political leadership is greatly keen to empower the youth nationwide.

He reiterated that such a step has been taken through employing youths in state-run bodies, particularly leading positions at ministries. He noted that there are now several ministers in their forties.

Youths have got positively involved in the political life and are well-aware about politics, he added.

The premier also explained that the numbers of youth voters were not low in the recent elections despite the outbreak of coronavirus.

Youths have also gained more experience about politics with high rates of political participation than ever before, Madbouli said.

He asserted that citizens have felt the great results of improvement of services currently offered by the state and they no longer complain about the lack of services.

The premier shed light on services provided by the state to help accomplish development projects on the supply of water, sewage, electricity and natural gas, in addition to major housing projects for youth and limited-income people.

The state offers social housing units, whose prices are up to EGP 500,000, at largely subsidized prices with 25-year installments, he said.

Egypt has carried out a program, which has been never implemented by any country all over the world, to develop unsafe areas through granting housing units with the necessary utilities for free, while the occupants pay only EGP 300 in rent for maintenance, the premier said.

Regarding unemployment, Madbouli pointed out that the jobless in Egypt in 2011 and 2012 exceeded 13% and inflation reached 30% and 33%.

Madbouli noted the inflation rate's average ranges between 6% and 6.5% in the first half of FY2021/22, underlining these numbers are pushed by the global inflation wave taking place all over the world.

The government does not depend on the numbers only, but it is also keen on conducting field visits, he said, referring to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi's meetings with citizens during his weekly inspection tours to listen to their problems and know their needs.

The government is not isolated from the people and is aware of the challenges and accumulated problems in the country.

As for debts, the premier said Egypt's debt reached 91% of its GDP, noting the percentage was 108% four years ago.

The government aims to downgrade this percentage to 83% in coordination with all international institutions, he added.

Madbouli stressed the importance of maintaining the success and trust in the Egyptian economy, adding any country seeking to achieve economic growth should borrow whether from inside or abroad till its economy is recovered, citing the Asian Tigers' experience.

The prime minister said Egypt's external debt is still in the safe zone.

Despite the big challenges that the country saw in the past period, it targets to achieve economic growth of not less than 5.5% to 7% in the coming three years, as well as controlling the internal and external debts, he mentioned.

Commenting on concerns about the Armed Forces' competition to the private sector in Egypt, Madbouli said the state bodies in all countries take part in pumping investments in strategic sectors. "These investments can affect the national security and economic stability."

The Armed Forces' institutions represent less than 1% of the Egyptian economy, the premier noted.

Egypt's economy largely depends on the private sector, he stated, explaining the Armed Forces' institutions were present during the exceptional period that the country saw, as the private sector could meet only 10% to 20% of the local needs.

The country needs to increase its public investments and implement several projects in various sectors, he said, adding 50% of the public investments were allocated to the infrastructure sector.

He pointed out that the Armed Forces' companies are being structured to be offered on the Egyptian Stock Exchange and ready for a partnership with the private sector in line with President Sisi's directives.

Regarding human rights in Egypt, the prime minister asserted the necessity of talking about how the West sees the human rights situation in the developing countries and the East, adding social, economic, environmental, and political rights should be addressed while tackling the human rights issue.

He mentioned that most institutions that criticize human rights depend on individual cases in their reports, which cannot be generalized.

The interview touched on the issue of diversity in the Egyptian media. In this regard, Madbouli said the State tries to achieve balance in the media outlets.

The State attempts to explain the real situation through its affiliated media, he stated, mentioning the citizens can expose to various media outlets and they have the ability to assess them.


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