Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly (L) during talks with his Lebanese counterpart Saad Al-Hariri at the Lebanese cabinet headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon, May 2, 2019 (Photo: Lebanese state news agency NNA)
Egypt's Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly stressed in his speech at the Arab Economic Forum (AEF) in Beirut on Thursday that Arab countries need to boost investment in education and healthcare, saying both are the cornerstones of human development in the Arab world where young people make up more than half of the population.
The Egyptian prime minister is in the Lebanese capital Beirut on Thursday to attend the 27th Arab Economic Forum as well as the ninth round of meetings of the Egyptian-Lebanese cooperation committee.
The Arab Economic Forum this year is attended by regional and international business officials and leaders, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri, the Secretary General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboulgheit, with Egypt designated this year's guest of honour.
The Egyptian-Lebanese cooperation committee, established over a decade ago, will be convening its meetings on Thursday and Friday.
Madbouly discussed in his speech the ambitious economic reform programme the government of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has been pushing ahead with over the past three years, and the Egypt Vision 2030 for sustainable development, which aims to boost growth, bolster the Egyptian economy’s competitiveness, and draw investors.
The prime minister said Egypt is also focused on legislative and organisational reform. Parliament has passed a package of laws aimed at spurring investment in Egypt, including an investment law designed to streamline the protocols of doing business in Egypt.
He called on Arab countries to work together to further involve the private sector in development projects.
Madbouly added that Egypt's economic plans are based on developing the country’s infrastructure through a comprehensive network of roads, residential and industrial developments and other economic and urban projects.
These projects include creating an international economic zone in the area around the Suez Canal and the New Administrative Capital being built east of Cairo.
Madbouly explained to the AEF that the Egyptian government aims to create 900,000 jobs a year through these projects.
He highlighted that the government has already created four million job opportunities over the past four years, cutting unemployment to 8.9 percent in Q4 of 2018, from over 12.5 percent before the country embarked on the economic reform programme in 2016.
Earlier on Thursday morning, an official reception ceremony was held for PM Madbouly at the official cabinet headquarters in Beirut, where the Egyptian national anthem was played as he was received by the Lebanese PM Al-Hariri.
The Egyptian and Lebanese prime ministers held bilateral talks to discuss ways to boost mutual cooperation in all fields, as well as as well as recent developments in Lebanon and the Arab world, Lebanon’s state news agency NNA said.
Madbouly is accompanied by a high-level Egyptian delegation comprising the ministries of oil, investment and international cooperation, trade and industry, workforce, electricity, and communications.
Trade exchange between Egypt and Lebanon was estimated at $407 million in 2013, according to the latest data published by Egypt’s Sate Information Service website.