DUBAI: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi thanked Saudi Arabia and the UAE for their continued support of his country.
Speaking as a guest of honor in the 10th annual World Government Summit on Monday, El-Sisi addressed a packed conference hall at Dubai’s Madinat Jumeirah in a session entitled “Investing in Egypt: Empowering the Private Sector and the Role of the Sovereign Fund of Egypt.”
He told delegates that the past decade had presented his country with tough challenges and that Egypt continued to face hard times.
But the president thanked the Kingdom and the UAE for their continuous support of his country.
“Had it not been without the support of our brothers from the UAE and Saudi,” he said, “we would not have been able to cross to safety.”
On the devastating earthquake that hit southern Turkiye and northern Syria last week, El-Sisi praised the UAE which has already provided over $100 million in aid.
But he added: “I have even asked Mohammed Bin Zayed to increase his aid to Syria. I do not think Emirati citizens will be upset with that — on the contrary, they will be proud.”
And El-Sisi outlined the problems his government faced in the electric, health and education sectors, adding that perseverance and patience were needed for positive outcomes.
“The education sector alone needs $250 billion. I do not have this budget which is a challenge in itself. Education is a long-term investment for a better Egypt; it is a right for my son, my grandson and every child in Egypt. Education is a long-term investment, it needs 14 years to reap its benefits.
“I prioritize all the country’s problems equally. Egypt faced loss of hope after 2011. People think when a government falls it’s destroyed for good but by God’s grace Egypt bounced back. We had a terrorism problem — the targeting of mosques, of churches and of infrastructure, even the targeting of regular civilians. Now that things have progressively gotten better we must focus on attracting investments.”
El-Sisi said the Arab Spring could not be repeated as it made Egypt pay a heavy price — the cost to the country was about $450 billion.
However, he said the government was now better placed to embark on deals and partnerships to better the lives of civilians.
“I am now able and wish to pursue a power link project not only with Jordan but with Saudi Arabia and Italy as well,” he said.
The president reminded the crowd and leadership alike that “historical, brotherly ties” should not be shattered because of outside forces causing intentional disruption between Arab governments.