President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi during the ninth Global Policy Forum - File Photo
CAIRO – 14 September 2017: Egypt has already started to bear the fruit of the economic reform measures and is moving in the right path according to its national vision, President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi said at the ninth Global Policy Forum, which kicked off in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh on Thursday.
Sisi highlighted some of the positive achievements of Egypt’s bold economic reform program that the country started in 2014 with the aim of trimming a gaping budget deficit.
He said that after years of tough economic conditions, Egypt’s international reserves climbed to more than $36 billion, the level it had prior to the 2011 January revolution.
The black market, which sold the U.S. dollar at extortionate prices, has been eliminated, in addition to the success achieved in increasing exports and lowering the trade balance’s deficit, Sisi said.
Prior to the flotation of the Egyptian Pound in November 2016, Egypt has been suffering from a severe foreign currency shortage that almost brought the economy to a halt.
Sisi added that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reached 4.9 percent in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2016\2017, compared to 4.5 in the same period last year.
The budget deficit, meanwhile, recorded 9.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016/2017, compared to 11.5 percent the previous year.
“We target narrowing the inflation rate to 13 percent by 2018,” Sisi added.
Egypt’s annual urban inflation rate dropped slightly in August, to 31.9 percent from a 30-year high of 33 percent in July, according to the official statistics agency CAPMAS.
Sisi said that some main pillars of the economic reform program have been implemented in 2017, including the drafting of the unified investment law to attract more investments through providing the best incentives for investors.
The Global Policy Forum is an international conference on financial inclusion that is being hosted by Egypt for the first time. It is organized by the International Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) and will take place over two days.
Sisi shed the light on the importance of financial inclusion as one of Egypt’s core targets that will help include all citizens, especially women and youth, and ensure their access to financial services. It will also help in merging the informal economy into the formal one.
Egypt is aspiring to become a pioneer in achieving financial inclusion, Sisi added.
He said that financial inclusion became a main goal for the country to achieve economic growth and improve the living standards of citizens.
The president expressed his confidence in the ability of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to achieve financial inclusion.
Sisi further spoke about the home-grown Egypt’s Vision 2030, known as the Sustainable Development Strategy.
He said that it was drafted with applicable goals, defined priorities and implementation of policies, some of which are mandatory, while others are delayed as per the set schedule.