I spent two days at the seventh National Youth Conference at the New Administrative Capital this week, soaking in the talk of harsh realities, hard work and the prospects of a lasting dream. There, I saw the footprints of the future drawn by young Egyptians. There, enthusiasm is based on plans, statistics and projects that are well-thought-out and attached to their world.
Enthusiastic young Egyptians have been searching deeply, looking into the strong and the weak points of the society in an attempt to diagnose the real dilemma. There was a team of young men and women coming from all over this country, working hard and in harmony to pursue their path to the future. Despite their different perspectives, professions, and educational backgrounds, they were highly attuned to their mission.
I couldn’t help but listen passionately to each and every one of them. They spoke about their dreams for Egypt, until that dream took them far from our reality. Their words -- though brief and concentrated – dig deep into our problems, presenting well-planned and timely projects that set the stage for a better future. Each and every one of them knew exactly his or her role in a well-planned system.
Despite the huge number of people who took part in the event, the young Egyptians’ perseverance and persistence in dealing with the harsh realities and finding the best possible solutions was the key to understanding the harmony of their performance.
Throughout the two-day forum, there has been a sense of willingness to overcome the difficulties around us, and to look deeply into the dilemma of coexisting with negligence, ugliness and laxity. President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has rightly bet on those young men and women of Egypt to bridge the gap between the reality and the dream.
Following the forum’s activities would make anyone feel that the gap between reality and our dream has become narrower. It is very much like watching the blueprints and drawings of the new capital, then, in a short time, one actually lives within and touches each and every corner of that glorious city.
The drawings have thus turned into skyscrapers, modern urban planning, wide roads and beautiful scenery. Similar projects have been taking place across the country, from Aswan in Upper Egypt to the North Coast, where new cities are to be launched and will become full of life, beauty and hard work.
The new capital, which is a dream that came true in the heart of the desert, has also become the model for hundreds of national projects which will soon be crowned by putting the final touches to the modern state administrative system.
Getting rid of the old system has become a necessity. It has been in itself an obstacle due to its slow and long processes, the lack of accurate data due to negligence, and because of its inability to maintain anything more than a sluggish connection between its different institutions.
The coupon system, for instance, has been giving aid to those who are not in need, due to lack of accurate statistics and data. This lack of reliable information has also made it difficult to plan for the future.
Corruption is another feature of the old administrative system. It will always flourish in a puzzling environment where the manipulation of paperwork and the lack of connections between information has become the rule.
What we have seen in the new capital is the outcome of hard work to develop the administrative system. It will depend on state-of-the-art technology to create a “modern brain” for the country: the data of 50,000 employers will be stored on highly secured servers built some 14 meters underground. The most important and highly confidential government data will be kept here. With this modern administrative system, high quality services will be presented to our people without delay and with efficiency.
The “government brain” will not only be available to the ministries and government officials, but also to major investment projects. President El-Sisi has said that we will have a modern and well-developed brain for the Egyptian state. When we have such a brain, we will be able to take decisions based on accurate data and plan for the future. Better yet, we will be able to get rid of bureaucracy and of ill-advised decisions.
By the end of next year, the new “government brain” will be in operation and by then we will witness a great leap in government performance.
One of the most fascinating projects is the initiative of “Dignified Life” which is being launched in the poorest villages. In such villages, new and beautiful houses will be built, with water and electricity supplies and a well-designed sewage system. The young people from poverty-stricken villages will also be able to participate in the new employment programme, broadening their horizons.
Now we have so many examples full of hope and confident of a better future with a president who has the will and the spirit to realise our dream. He also has, by his side, very enthusiastic young people who love their country and are well-equipped with knowledge and scientific thinking.
Those young Egyptians will give us the positive energy and confidence that our children will pursue a better living standard. It is the future that deserves a lot of work, patience and perseverance. It is the future that comes with grand projects embodied in dozens of new cities planned in the desert to establish industrial and agricultural communities, with roads and bridges that stretch out for 8,000km, and 3-to-6 traffic lanes. It is the future that will change this country, and put an end to the cancerous slums that have until now prevailed and threatened our security and lifestyle.
In these slums, all sorts of social diseases are mushrooming, and when they are eradicated with the establishment of new communities that are marked by beautiful structures and clean, wide roads, a new era will be ushered in.
It is hard to review such fascinating efforts exerted by our young people in their two-day forum, but their hard work marks a new historical era characterised by a new lifestyle in health, education and economic activity, as dreamed of by all Egyptians.
*The writer is the editor-in-chief of Al-Ahram daily newspaper