Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Tuesday that the launch of the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) report on human development in Egypt for 2021 reflects the success of the Egyptian people in enduring the impacts of the economic reform programme.
President El-Sisi, along with key state and UNDP officials, attended a ceremony in the New Administrative Capital east of Cairo to celebrate the issuance of the report.
The report is the 12th to be issued on Egypt since 1994 and comes after a hiatus on issuing the report that lasted for 10 years.
The UNDP introduced the report in 1990 to define and measure development and to rank countries based on their Human Development Index (HDI), which ranks education, health and income.
According to UNDP Egypt, the country's 2021 report highlights human development between 2011 and 2020.
“The [HDR] report is a certificate not on the government or the state; it is for the people, who I always say are the true heroes,” El-Sisi said in remarks during the ceremony.
The president noted that the country's economic reform plan succeeded only because the people accepted it and understood its measures.
“Even though we have taken social protection measures to ease the implications [of the economic reform program], eventually, challenges that have been and still are facing the Egyptian state still represent a burden on Egyptian society,” El-Sisi said.
Development in parallel with counterterrorism
El-Sisi said that the Egyptian state has taken measures to counter terrorism during the eight past years, but has considered the fight against this phenomenon to be based on construction and development.
El-Sisi said the state has worked on developing all sectors “with the utmost strength, depth and comprehensiveness.”
The president urged that the report’s prologue in the coming years include challenges such as terrorism, regional challenges, illegal emigration, and refugees in Egypt.
El-Sisi said that Egypt hosts 5-6 million refugees who live “among us as guests” rather than refugees and enjoy the same services the state provides to citizens.
This number of refugees “can be equal to the [population] of two or three countries,” and therefore, the report shall put this into consideration, El-Sisi said.
Changing the lives of millions in 3 years
In his remarks, El-Sisi said that Egypt has altered the plan to develop the countryside as per its Decent Life initiative so that it is completed in three years instead of 10.
Decent Life, Hayah Karima in Arabic, comprises a series of countryside-focused national infrastructure projects. As many as 4,658 villages are included in the initiative, which is divided into three phases.
El-Sisi launched the first phase of the initiative in mid-2021 with a budget estimated at EGP 250 billion, due to be completed by the end of the 2021-22 fiscal year.
“Imagine that we, in Egypt, will be able to change the lives of 58 million Egyptians, God willing, during the coming three years,” El-Sisi said, adding that the next HDR on Egypt should be able to monitor “such huge transformation.”
El-Sisi said the country managed to raise the availability of sanitation service provided to the countryside from 12 percent to 38 percent, affirming that the country aims during the coming three years to provide sanitation services to the entire countryside.
The president also underlined Egypt’s efforts to line canals so that they can eliminate pollution and establish dual and triple sewage treatment plants.
“From the period between 2014 until now, in addition to the three coming years, maybe our spending will exceed EGP 600-700 billion for the dual and triple treatment plants, first to benefit from water and also to eliminate environmental pollution caused by this water,” El-Sisi said.
El-Sisi also highlighted the efforts to develop the lakes of Manzala, Timsah and Mariout as an example of the country’s development plans, saying that Lake Manzala has probably not witnessed such development in 500-600 years.
“We do not [just] return them to their previous state, we do something that is unprecedented in the history of Egypt and the region,” El-Sisi said.