File photo of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi
Humanity is facing its most difficult test in a long time, as it counters several challenges represented in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic and the repercussions of climate change, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Wednesday.
These challenges impose a new reality that requires more innovative ideas in decision-making, the Egyptian president stressed.
El-Sisi’s remarks came in his recorded speech delivered during the first edition of the Egypt Forum for International Cooperation (Egypt ICF) held on Wednesday in Cairo.
Organised by the Ministry of International Cooperation under the auspices of President El-Sisi, Egypt ICF witnessed the participation of Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, the ministers of international cooperation, manpower, education, planning, local development, communication, and others.
The first edition of the forum is held under the slogan “Partnerships to Achieve Sustainable Development” and aims to bring together the concerned parties to promote joint action, support the UN agenda to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, and mobilise international efforts to counter global challenges.
“Egypt is one of the first countries [worldwide] to develop a long-term strategic plan to achieve sustainable development by 2030,” El-Sisi said, pointing out that the objectives of Egypt's sustainable development vision for 2030 is consistent with the UN goals.
The president stressed the importance of achieving African integration through activating the executive mechanisms of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
The AfCFTA was signed in March 2018 in Rwanda’s Kigali and activated in May 2019. African countries began officially trading under the agreement in January 2021 following months of delays owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the African Union, the AfCFTA is set to be the largest free trade bloc in the world in terms of the number of participating countries since the establishment of the World Trade Organisation in 1994.
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry had earlier stated that the AfCFTA will reflect on more than 1.2 billion people, with a total domestic product of about $3.4 trillion.
Tackling the need for joint action, El-Sisi stressed that governments cannot alone achieve green recovery, which has become a top priority.
The president stressed that “we should not lose sight of the different economic and social conditions of emerging and developing countries” that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a matter that hinders their ability to participate in green recovery.
El-Sisi concluded that he hopes the Egypt ICF will contribute to supporting the international community's efforts to achieve sustainable development.
The forum was attended by high-level officials from Africa, Europe and Latin America, heads of international and regional financial institutions, and representatives of the private sector and civil society.