France's Hollande says key obstacles facing Egypt: Security, demography and geography

Ahram Online , Monday 18 Apr 2016

Francois Hollande was speaking alongside Sisi in Cairo at the Egyptian-French Business Forum; Egyptian president says Europe needs to see things through our scope and culture

Sisi and Hollande
Egyptian president Abdelfattah al-Sissi (R) and his French counterpart Francois Hollande attend the opening session the French-Egyptian Economic forum in Cairo on April 18, 2016 (AFP)

French President Francois Hollande said in Cairo on Monday that Egypt faces three main challenges to its development – security, demography, and geography.

Speaking on the second day of his three-day visit to Cairo, Hollande described the first challenge as “a security challenge in a region that suffers from disasters, tragedies, deprivation and terrorism.”

The second challenge is related to Egypt’s population of 91 million, which increases by an average of two million a year.

“This demographic renewal is a burden when there’s a lack of preparation and infrastructure to face this [population] increase,” the French president said during the Egyptian-French Economic Forum, alongside his counterpart President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

The French president said the third challenge is a geographic challenge; although Egypt is connected to the Suez Canal, Egyptians should expand to other parts of the country.

President El-Sisi on his part said that Europe’s view of the Middle East is “unfair” to the region.

“You look at what is happening in the Middle East from your European scope and this is a great injustice,” the Egyptian president stated.

“You should look at what is happening in the region from our scope and culture,” El-Sisi added.

El-Sisi also touched on the Egyptian-French economic relationship, describing France as one of Egypt’s important partners.

“Egypt is a country that aims to develop and stand on its feet and take its position amongst the modern nations as a democratic modern state,” El-Sisi announced.

During the forum, 30 memorandums of understandings of cooperation between the two countries were signed.


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