Davos: Egypt's El-Sisi invites world leaders to economic summit

Ahram Online , Thursday 22 Jan 2015

During the World Economic Forum held in Davos, President El-Sisi spoke about Egypt's steps towards reform, inviting world leaders and investors to a key economic conference in March

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi makes a speech during the Egypt in the World event in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 22, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has invited world leaders and investors to an economic summit in March, as part of efforts to boost Egypt's economy after the fallout of years of political turmoil.

During the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland on Thursday, El-Sisi called on businesses to invest in the well-publicised Suez Canal logistics hub, which the country claims will boost its economy.

The government has been executing measures to reform state budget and investment legislation, as well as settling disputes with investors.

Egypt has also amended the incentives for foreign oil companies operating on its land, to encourage further petroleum exploration, El-Sisi said.

Pressure on the less-privileged — including via rising prices — will be balanced by new job opportunities and allocating ten percent of GDP to education and health by 2020, he added.

After his election in July 2014, El-Sisi's government partially removed fuel subsidies, raising prices at the pump by up to 78 percent, a much-delayed step in fear of public fury.

The decision led to inflation of 11.8 percent in October before easing to 10.13 percent in December.

Meanwhile, the country's central bank has been maintaining the value of the currency to mitigate an expected result of inflation, El-Sisi said.

El-Sisi also spoke about Egypt's upcoming parliamentary elections, a long-delayed step that finalises the political roadmap set forth after the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

Elections are set to start in March, a decision that El-Sisi said was taken to reflect a message to investors "that they are coming to a fully-institutionalised country."

Answering a question concerning the "religious revolution" that he has mentioned before, El-Sisi said that the tolerance of Islam was not clear to the world in the recent decades because of terrorist attacks.

"We should stop and to refine our religious rhetoric from the faulty thought which led to (terrorism)," El-Sisi said, adding that this will only be done by the hands of scholars from Al-Azhar, the largest Sunni Islamic institute in Egypt and the Middle East.

"This has nothing to do with creed. No one will touch the pillars of Islam," he said.

"The whole world, not just Muslims, needs to stand and review many points that provoke the feelings of others. We should provide a proper environment for respecting religion," said El-Sisi who described the huge protests that took place in Paris last week against extremism as an "extension to the millions who went out in Egypt a year and a half ago" against the Muslim Brotherhood rule.

El-Sisi also reiterated his country’s view on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, asserting that a peaceful deal will create "a new reality" to the region and to the world.

Egypt – which calls for the two-state solution and the abidance by pre-1967 borders – has been a leading mediator in the bilateral talks during the latest conflict that left hundreds of victims.


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