Speech by H.E. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi at 45th session of World Economic Forum (WEF)
Thursday، 22 January 2015 - 12:00 AM
22 January, 2015
Professor Klaus Schwab,
Ladies and gentlemen,
At the beginning, I would like to thank Professor for inviting to speak to you today; an invitation well-appreciated by both Egypt and the Egyptians. I am proud to belong to a country, which has over the history contributed to human civilization; a country which continues to give back to mankind, thanks to the many gifts bestowed upon it by The Creator; prominent of which is the Egyptian people, who grow more determined to overcome the difficulties and challenges thrown their way, coming out victorious and humbled.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Those difficulties and those challenges, which I speak of, are neither rhetorical nor exaggerated. They are very real and are hard pressing upon the shoulders of the people of Egypt, who face them with courage, and what is even more they are not afraid to dream of a better future for themselves, the Arab nation and the world at large.
The recent past stands witness to the ability, acumen and awareness of the Egyptian people. They have overthrown an autocratic regime, when they felt it has exceeded the bounds of legitimacy and have risen against yet another, which sought to monopolize legitimacy and use it to steer the Egyptian identity away from its very own time-honoured characteristics of diversity, creativity and openness to the whole world.
I should highlight here the need to rely on public awareness and to listen to the voice of the people. The millions, who caught the world by surprise as they poured into the streets of France only yesterday, are but an extension of the millions who filled the streets of Egypt approximately 9 months ago. Ours is the same battle on both fronts; the same acts of terror launched to impose terrorists' views. In us, terrorists see their antithesis, without any discrimination based on ethnicity or faith. The blood they shed in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Nigeria, Mali, Canada, France and Lebanon is the same colour.
We should therefore exert every effort possible to weed out this phenomenon, wherever it exists. This can be achieved by the comprehensive handling of its components, under whatever different names it may assume; indeed by dealing with the political considerations which allowed it access to our societies; and by cooperating intellectually, culturally and security-wise. In addition, we should exchange intelligence and information, deny terrorist organizations the opportunity of using social media and the internet either to spread hate calls or recruit new elements using religious allegations taking advantage of people's gullibility or frustration.
While it should be noted here that Islam with its sublime values and with more than 1 billion believers across the world should not be held hostage by a few murderous criminals, we Muslims should mend our ways and review our actions so as to prevent those terrorists from destroying our history, abusing our present and jeopardizing our future, based only on erroneous understandings and diminished perceptions of religion. On the other hand, as a civilized world, and given our identical view regarding the need to eliminate the threat of terrorism, we should show respect of each other's faith and rise above any conflict or abuse that could be used to promote evil objectives or suggest that conflict is inevitable between us.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The challenges and difficulties facing Egypt are not confined to fighting terrorism, nor will our war on terror prevent us from achieving the fundamental goals for which Egyptians have risen in revolt. Our efforts to establish a modern civilian state will proceed uninterrupted. After adopting a constitution and holding presidential elections, the people of Egypt are now preparing to complete the final stage of the roadmap to the future by electing their representatives to Parliament; the role of whom would be to develop laws that would translate the Social Contract incorporated in the Constitution into rights and duties; where all stand equal regardless of gender or faith. We also look forward to the supervisory and legislative role of parliamentary representatives, however different their political inclinations and however diverse their opinions are, which reflect a fight for rather than over Egypt.
This goes hand in hand with a serious effort to meet the demands of the two revolutions of Egypt. A comprehensive development-oriented socio-economic modernization vision has been developed aiming to launch us into open horizons to ensure the right of all Egyptians to work and to a decent life, particularly given the huge potential and resources of the Egyptian economy, particularly the human resources and the promise of its youth, who represent one third of the country's population. For the implementation of this vision, we rely on the support of the private sector; investments should be encouraged and obstacles removed to help the private sector assume its role as the driving force of the process of development, within the context of corporate social responsibility and with State institutions paving the way for comprehensive and sustainable development by drafting and enforcing laws, increasing public and private sector partnerships and protecting deprived and underprivileged groups.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Our efforts to implement this vision derive from an increased trust in Egypt's economic performance and in government commitment to implementing policies and programmes aiming at achieving comprehensive and sustainable development and overcoming the structural issues long-riddling national economy. These efforts are based on the following:
First. Implementing balanced fiscal and monetary policies: This can be achieved by reducing budget deficits; adopting daring steps towards gradually cutting down on energy-related subsidy in order to protect deprived and underprivileged groups; improving the taxation system; reducing the ratio of budget deficit/debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP); and implementing a monetary policy which seeks to reduce inflation.
Second. Removing obstacles long-impeding private-sector investments; resolving disputes between the government and investors, both local and foreign; issuing laws to ensure equal opportunities, boost transparency, justice and the enforcement of law, particularly in regard to competitiveness and the financing of small enterprises; and passing the unified investment law and simplifying procedures through implementing the one-shop system. This is a continuing process which seeks to create an investment-attracting environment contributing to comprehensive development; and aiming at increasing growth rate to 7% and reducing unemployment to 10% by 2020.
Third. Dealing with the negative socio-economic effects of economic reform policies by pursuing comprehensive sustainable development and implementing social justice. To achieve this, we seek to generate greater job opportunities, providing them as a right not to be ignored. To that end, we aim at increasing small- and medium-size enterprises, giving special attention to youth and women. Financial allocations to the health and education sectors will be increase to 10% of GDP.
Fourth. Improving the infrastructure of the transport and communication sectors by injecting greater investments. Part of this should be financed by state budget allocations, the rest by partnerships and sovereign funds. It is also imperative that private and public sector partnership mechanisms should be developed with the purpose of alleviating the burden of financing infrastructure projects and ensuring community participation in building the Egypt of tomorrow.
Fifth. Achieving institutional reform through amending laws governing relations between the government and the private sector, passing anti-corruption laws and restructuring the pension system.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I must here turn to our ambitious national projects, which hold the promise of greater investment opportunities. An example of this is the development and duality of the Suez Canal, particularly in its second stage, which opens the door to investments in logistical and industrial services on both sides of the Canal, relying on the great potential for private sector investments and capitalizing on Egypt's strategic location at the centre between Africa, Europe and Asia.
In addition to this, Egypt has launched the first stage of a project, which seeks to reclaim 1 million feddans. The law on mineral wealth has also been passed, infusing new life into the mining sector with progress being achieved in repaying overdue debts to foreign partners. Accompanying this has been a process of adjusting fuel prices to encourage oil and gas excavation operations. In this regard, major companies have announced plans to invest in the oil and gas sector despite the steep drop of oil prices on the international market.
The diversity characteristic of Egypt's economy is no secret. The result is fruitful cooperation with investors in small, medium-sized and major in the various sectors; e.g. agriculture, industry and services. It gives me pleasure, at this point, to extend an invitation to all partners looking for serious investment opportunities to attend the “Egypt Economic Development Conference”, due to be held in Sharm al-Sheikh on 13 to 15 March, 2015. The Conference will identify the projects and advantages made available by the investment atmosphere, in addition to exchanging experiences and technology for modernizing the sectors of weaving and textiles, and industries of engineering, construction and building materials.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Egypt is keen on opening up to the world; indeed on contributing solutions to common challenges facing us all. Egypt is also intent on implementing its contractual commitments and on applying the provision of the agreements, treaties and convention to which it is party. It further seeks to pursue fruitful cooperation and expand the base of economic relations with all international partners. This derives from a down-to-earth recognition that no single party can achieve their national goals in isolation from the world. In turn, the world should cooperate to create the atmosphere most suitable for all parties to make good use of their integration in global economy.
As we are about to assess the outcome of the Millennium Development Goals and formulate other goals for the post-2015 period as well as develop new foundations for overcoming the problems of climate change, dialogue in today's world should cover the entire range of the international facts under which we operate. Whereas globalization has earned many people great gains, it has had negative effects on a huge percentage of the world's population, who lack social protection; particularly people in Africa. In addition, there is also the ever-increasing gap between the advanced and developing countries, in regard to the increasing poverty and unemployment rates, and the yawning technology gap.
Meanwhile, the newly-born Egypt is aware that as much as it needs to open up to the world in order to fulfil the ambitions of its people, it is also most conscious of the calls of its direct neighbours in the Arab and African, and on a much wider scale of the entire international community, for its contribution to bolstering stability and dealing with the challenges facing us all. Egypt has had a long-enduring positive role based on the solid principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, the provisions of international law and international legitimacy. Egypt pursues an end of the Palestinian-Israeli struggle based on a two-state solution; a solution which protects the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital. We believe this to be the only way for people in the region including those of Israel to live in security and peace.
We also continue our pursuit to protect the peoples of Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen from being destroyed, and we work towards ending the bloodshed by introducing political solutions guaranteeing the safety and territorial integrity of those countries, which constitute an indispensable component of Arab national security, and an important element in achieving world peace and security. We will also to contribute to resolving African issues and to unleashing African development potentials based on the oneness of origin and destiny.
Ladies and gentlemen,
These are the aspects of the path Egypt has opted for while working hard and holding a straight head, led by strong will, genuine hope and firm belief, all deriving from the recognition that we have a historic responsibility and that we are graced with a unique location and entrusted with a pioneer both within our region and beyond. We recognize the need for international cooperation to overcome the numerous yet intertwined challenges in a world becoming so small as knowledge and scientific creative increases.
We will proceed along this path to overcome difficulties and to rise up to the level of the challenges facing us, confident in the strength of our economy and of the sound policies governing it. We will proceed to achieve sustainability and productivity, thus ensuring that the exceptional development-oriented dividends will measure up to the aspiration of the Egyptian people; indeed to their inalienable right to a productive and decent life. I am certain the bridges of confidence we intend to build together will contribute achieving our hope for a better present and for a more prosperous future for Egypt and for the world at large.