Egypt spent about $500 billion in 7 years to build adequate infrastructure: Sisi

Ahram Online , Thursday 16 Jun 2022

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Thursday that Egypt spent between $400 billion and $500 billion in the past seven years to build adequate infrastructure that is key for development.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi attending the Afreximbank meeting on Thursday in New Administrative Capital.Photo: Al-ahram


Yet, “what we implemented was on an area from 10 to 12 percent of the overall one million square kilometres [of Egypt],” he noted. 

El-Sisi wondered if the infrastructure in the African continent is qualified to meet the aspirations and hopes of its peoples.

El-Sisi’s remarks came during a session at the 2022 African Export-Import Bank’s (Afreximbank) 29th Annual Meetings (AAM2022) at the New Administrative Capital that are being held from 15 to 18 June under the theme “Realising the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Potential in the Post COVID-19 Era – Leveraging the Power of the Youth.”

"Are banks in major countries ready to offer loans to Africa to upgrade its infrastructure to carry out development plans,” El-Sisi asked during a session titled "Africa is hedging against foreign shocks and domestic challenges."

El-Sisi hinted that there are African countries with huge agricultural potential but are lacking the infrastructure that enables them to export.

“It is not about natural resources, but the infrastructure that enables us to manage those resources,” he said, stressing the importance of securing the finances needed to build the adequate infrastructure for development in Africa.

El-Sisi added that the lack of security and stability was the second obstacle hindering African development.

“If security and stability are absent in any country, do not expect this country to advance,” he said.

During the event, the Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt Tarek Amer said that the consecutive international developments, such as Covid-19 and global inflation, have burdened African economies which have already been suffering from several challenges.

Amer stated that policy-makers have to take drastic measures to curb rising inflation rates and address points of weakness at the financial level.

He said financial institutions became aware of their social responsibility in view of the consecutive challenges, noting that this has led to adopting policies and mechanisms leading to creating jobs and curbing inflation.

The governor of the CBE stated that Egypt was not away from such developments, and "we cannot deny that it was affected by their repercussions."

Nevertheless, Amer said, thanks to the economic reform programmes and the wise policies, Egypt was capable of overcoming these challenges.

He added that the CBE worked with the government and Egyptian banks to take unprecedented measures to secure high levels of financial liquidity for all economy-involved players.

Organised by Afreximbank and the CBE, this edition of annual meetings hosts more than 3,000 participants from African central banks, banking officials, African officials, and international organisations.

The meetings are seeing 30 plenary and main sessions, two exhibitions featuring the main programmes, and initiatives to support the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises within the framework of the AfCFTA, as well as the programmes and initiatives of Afreximbank.

The Afreximbank is a Pan-African multilateral financial institution mandated to finance and promote intra-and extra-African trade. Afreximbank deploys innovative structures to deliver financing solutions that support the transformation of the structure of Africa’s trade, accelerating industrialisation and intra-regional trade, thereby boosting economic expansion in Africa.

The AfCFTA, an agreement that was adopted and opened for signature in March 2018 in Kigali before going into force in January 2021, aims to accelerate intra-African trade and boost Africa’s trading position in the global market by strengthening its common voice and policy space in global trade negotiations.

The AfCFTA will be the largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), given Africa’s current population of 1.2 billion people, which is expected to grow to 2.5 billion by 2050.

During the first nine months of 2021, Egypt’s exports to African Union countries witnessed a 37.8 percent hike, with the total value of Egyptian exports to the African Union hitting $3.9 billion, up from $2.8 billion during the same period last year, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics. 

Egypt’s total imports to African Union countries increased by 30.2 percent during the first nine months of 2021 to reach $1.4 billion, up from $1.1 billion in 2020.

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