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Terrorism, foreign intervention are major hindrance to development in Africa: Sisi tells Africa-EU forum

Ahram Online, Tuesday 18 Dec 2018
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Egypt's President Abbdel-Fattah El-Sisi giving a speech before the EU-Forum in Vienna on Tuesday 18 December (Photo: Egypt's Presidential Spokesperson)
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Terrorism and foreign intervention are among the major obstacles to development in Africa, Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said in a speech at the EU-Africa summit held in Vienna on Tuesday, where 26 African and European heads of state are participating. 

The Egyptian president said that while the continent has managed to achieve high sustainable development levels, Africa's economic development has not yet reached its target goals.

The meeting in Vienna is the culmination of Austria's six-month presidency of the European Union.

The participants in the forum include German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Guinean President Alpha Conde, AU Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and representatives from the UN, the World Bank, Google and BMW.

"The hard economic situation and the unsuitable trade and investment conditions, as well as challenges related to security and stability, have contributed to not achieving development goals and improving living standards in Africa," the Egyptian president said.

"Armed conflicts and inter-continental criminal and terrorist activities, as well as foreign intervention, are still major factors that affect the safety and stability of nations," El-Sisi added. 

El-Sisi also said that the African continent is looking forward to enhancing cooperation with European partners on digital and technological transformation and the exchange of information to facilitate the transfer of services and merchandise.

Last month, Egypt held the 22nd round of the Cairo International Exhibition and Conference on Telecommunication and Information Technology (ICT 2018). 

"Africa is more capable of dealing with advanced 21st century tools, especially since 60 percent of its population are below 25 years, although only 12 million join the job market annually," the Egyptian president said. 

The president affirmed that technological and digital transformation is at the top of Egypt's priorities for the 2063 Agenda, which is the African Union's strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years.

El-Sisi arrived in Vienna on Sunday for an official visit. 

During a press conference with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz on Monday, El-Sisi stressed Egypt's humanitarian and moral commitment to the safety and welfare of all, including 5 million refugees living in Egypt, as well as Cairo's commitment to achieving stability in the Middle East.

El-Sisi also met with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen and the Speaker of the National Council Wolfgang Sobotka.

The president called on Austria to take advantage of investing in Egypt to reach African markets, especially considering Egypt’s upcoming chairmanship of the African Union in 2019.

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