Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said in an interview with US news channel CNBC that Egypt’s World Youth Forum (WYF) is an opportunity for communication and dialogue between youth from around the world, presidency spokesman Bassam Rady said on Sunday.
El-Sisi gave the interview, which is yet to be aired, on the sidelines of the WYF in Sharm El-Sheikh. The interview tackled a number of issues including the economy, tourism, Egypt’s upcoming presidential elections and Egyptian-US relations.
The WYF, which is being held from 4 to 10 November, has attracted thousands of participants from around the world, with official delegations and youth representatives from various countries.
According to the official WYF website, the forum aims to “send a message of peace, prosperity, harmony and progress to the entire world.”
El-Sisi said in the interview that the forum is particularly significant for Egypt since more than half of Egyptians are youths.
"The WYF is an extension of the previous youth forums held in Egypt since November 2016," El-Sisi added, according to spokesman Rady.
The WYF was first announced in July during the National Youth Conference in Alexandria, which was also attended by El-Sisi.
El-Sisi pointed to the economic progress Egypt has achieved, which has been reflected in reports by a number of international economic institutions, as well as the improvement in the investment climate, especially with the recently approved investment law.
In June, the long-awaited investment law was ratified by the president. The law grants investors a number of incentives, including a 50 percent tax break on investments in underdeveloped areas, as well as government financial support in connecting utilities to new projects.
Egypt has been classified as the top investment destination in Africa by the Rand Merchant Bank’s report 'Where to Invest in Africa 2018.'
The Egyptian president also told CNBC that the tourism sector is improving after years of setbacks that scared away tourists since the 2011 uprising.
In the first nine months of 2017, Egypt's tourism revenues rose 211.8 percent year-on-year to $5.3 billion, according to Reuters.
On the upcoming presidential elections, El-Sisi said: "Electing the president is only by the Egyptian people's will, who have the right to choose their president".
The presidential elections are set to be held in May or June 2018.
El-Sisi concluded the interview by saying that since the election of US President Donald Trump, the US has shown understanding of the great challenges Egypt is facing, especially in confronting the threat of terrorism.
Trump and El-Sisi have on several occasions exchanged expressions of support and praise.
In an interview with the Saudi newspaper The Middle East, El-Sisi affirmed Egyptian-Saudi strategic relations, which have served to preserve Arab national security.
El-Sisi also said that Saudi policies have reflected wisdom and determination.
On Saturday evening, Saudi Arabia arrested dozens of princes and former government ministers as part of a sweeping anti-corruption probe.