In a meeting with development partners and NGOs on the sidelines of the World Youth Forum (WYF) in Sharm El-Sheikh, El-Sisi said that the country expressed its seriousness to the IMF’s officials to move forward on the track of reforms no matter how difficult it was.
The country, El-Sisi said, based its stance on the fact that the IMF “has its own expertise, and if the countries [adopting the IMF adjustment programme] are able to implement the technical recommendations for reform, then they will certainly succeed.”
The president praised the Egyptian people who helped the government to implement such reforms, saying “the commitment was not only restricted to the government, but the Egyptian people endured the harshness of reform, and not a single Egyptian came out complaining from the pain of the reform.”
The first phase of the country’s reform programme that concluded in 2019 included the floatation of the Egyptian pound, lifting nearly all fuel subsidies, implementing a value-added tax, and raising the prices of electricity and transportation.
Egypt secured a much needed $12 billion loan from the global lender. Currently Egypt is focusing on the second phase that covers structural reforms.
“The programme has very positive effects on the national economy,” said the Egyptian president.
The reforms achieved before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic helped overcome its repercussions, he added.
Egypt also launched the ‘100 Million Health Initiative’ for four years by making use of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) expertise and has screened more than 70 million Egyptian citizens, he said.
The WHO provided Egypt with technical support to administer medical tests under the 100 Million Health Initiative to curb the rates of the Hepatitis C virus worldwide.
The president also shed light on the country’s Decent Life Initiative, which comprises a series of countryside-focused national infrastructure projects to develop the country’s poorest villages.
The 2019-launched initiative aims to drastically change the life of nearly 60 million people, he said, hoping that the project will be finalised within the coming three months.
Furthermore, Egypt is targeting becoming an energy hub in the Middle East, El-Sisi said, indicating that the country has been working for four years to that end.
“Egypt has already become able to supply Europe with energy,” El-Sisi affirmed.
He also noted that the state — through a package of investment incentives — is working on attracting businesses to invest in the Egyptian Suez Canal Economic Zone.
Moreover, Egypt will be enacting laws regulating the work of the SCZone in order to attract more companies to do business in the country, he concluded.