Egypt's PM says major investment needed for country's ailing infrastructure

Ahram Online , Saturday 5 Dec 2015

The prime minister, who is at the China-Africa cooperation summit in South Africa says much needs to be done to build classrooms and upgrade overall infrastructure in Egypt

Chinese President Xi Jinping with Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail
Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail in Johannesburg, South Africa, Dec. 4, 2015 (Photo: Courtesy of China's official news agency Xinhua)

Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said on Saturday that major investment is needed to upgrade the country's infrastructure, state agency MENA reported.

Ismail, who was attending the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in South Africa’s Johannesburg, told Egyptian reporters during  that Egypt has faced and continues to face major economic problems.

“We need [to develop] infrastructure in transportation, railways, and other sectors. We have to acknowledge the size of the challenges we are facing, which require us to join together, with time and effort, to overcome them,” Ismail said.

The prime minister said that 50,000 new classrooms need to be built in the next three years to overcome overcrowding, and 50,000 more classrooms are required in order to end the policy of schools operating in two shifts.

Some schools in urban locations in Egypt often have operate on two shifts per day, with the first shift from the early morning until midday and the second from midday to late-afternoon.

Ismail also said that teaching had to be improved so that students would not have to rely on private tutoring.

Earlier, the spokesperson for the Egyptian cabinet, Hossam Qaweesh, said that at a meeting on Friday with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Ismail proposed 15 infrastructure projects for chinese investors to undertake at a total cost of $10 billion.

Qaweesh said that the Chinese side is interested in collaborating on projects in the Suez Canal zone, especially projects related to power generation, logistics, transportation, and infrastructure.

According to Qaweesh, Xi also expressed his appreciation for his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, and his leadership.

The Chinese president will visit Egypt in January.

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