President Sisi - Press Photo
CAIRO – 7 November 2017: “Ignorant approaches to issues can destroy countries instead of build them. The world has to consider that we are trying to achieve development while fighting terrorism,” President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi stated Tuesday in a World Youth Forum (WYF) session.
The third day of the forum kicked off with a session titled “Challenges and Issues Facing World Youth” in Sharm El Sheikh where the president highlighted the issues and challenges facing the country and remarkably impacting Egyptian youth.
President Sisi said that developed countries do not suffer from the same issues as developing countries do, such as overpopulation, as the former has been implementing balanced and well established socio-economic programs for many years.
“The annual population growth in Egypt is 2.5 million who need education, healthcare, and employment. People do not absorb that such growth would exacerbate all development endeavors. We have to achieve economic growth by 7.5 percent annually. The highest rate we reached is seven percent,” Sisi said.
The president affirmed that a significant percentage of the Egyptian population still suffers from ignorance, unemployment, and illiteracy explaining that it is not because the state is not fulfilling its duties but because of overpopulation. “Creating a real job opportunity requires between LE 100,000 and LE 1 million. Can even the global market contain the workforce we have?” he added.
Illiteracy and unemployment rates in Egypt are respectively 30 and 12.7 percent. Illiteracy is higher among women.
The president criticized citizens who complain about their inability “to feed their four children” highlighting that parents in other countries are not just concerned about feeding their children but also about nourishing them mentally, psychologically, and emotionally. “They think about how they can provide care for their children,” Sisi said.
On a side note, the president shed light on the magnitude of possible pan-African cooperation, if a good transportation network – mainly urban – between African countries is built since many of them do not have maritime ports facilitating movement of goods and individuals, “then no aid from outside the continent would be needed,” Sisi said.
The president asserted that whenever tourism records significant growth, a terror attack occurs in touristic sites devastating the sector that is considered a main source of income in the country. He accused “certain entities” of targeting the Egyptian economy and development by targeting tourism.
“We are not a dictatorship; we want to live like you live. Some do not want us to live. Terrorism is a weapon used by some to destroy countries. It will grow, become ferocious and destroy the entire world. I spent my lifetime studying terrorism. Terrorist groups want to demolish the Egyptian state,” Sisi stipulated.
Regarding the harsh impact of the economic reforms recently taken by the state such as gradually lifting in-kind subsidies, imposing the value-added tax, and floating the currency, the president commented that people would not be satisfied of the consequences of not taking an action towards the economic issues the country is suffering of.
Sisi warned that “some entities incite people to make a move” (protest) whether the state assumes reforms or not, explaining that the ultimate goal is “bringing about the country’s collapse” due to its fragile socio-economic status.