Alexandria Youth conference
President Abdel Fattah El Sisi discussed a slew of political, economic, and foreign affairs issues during the latest youth conference, which kicked off yesterday in Alexandria. The president named terrorism and the ballooning population as two of the country’s biggest hurdles. He said it will be crucial for Egypt to stick to his administration’s economic reform agenda if the country wants to overcome its “development challenges,” something Prime Minister Sherif Ismail also stressed at the conference. El Sisi stressed that the reform program has already translated into an improvement in FX reserves, which are fast approaching pre-2011 levels, Ahram Gate reports
Education as a national priority: One of the key takeaways from the conference is the signalling that education will be a bigger priority for the government moving forward. The president said Egypt’s education system needs funding to the tune of EGP 180 bn per annum if quality is to improve, making the current budget allocation of EGP 60 bn insufficient, Al Borsa reports.
On foreign policy, El Sisi stressed that Egypt is not backing down from the Qatar blockade. The President also called on the Israeli leadership and people to avoid taking measures which would provoke Muslim sentiments when it comes to the Al Aqsa mosque crisis. His plea (runtime: 2:38) comes as Egypt and other regional and international power look to calm the flare up resulting from closing the mosque to worshippers, which led to the death of at least eight Palestinians. Local political forces are looking to grandstand on the issue: A number of political parties looking to hold demonstrations in the Arab League, said Medhat El Zahid, acting head of the Popular Socialist Coalition.
Other takeaways from the conference:
- The Universal Healthcare Act is in its final stages, and will be presented to Prime Minister Sherif Ismail in two weeks’ time, according to Al Mal.
- The Education Ministry plans to build 100K classrooms within two years, of which 60,000 will be funded by the state, while the private sector will develop the remaining 40,000.
- Egypt’s agricultural exports to Europe, the Arab world, and Russia are on the rise, with exports of potatoes jumping around 33% to reach a total of 800K tonnes, Agriculture Minister Abdel Moneim El Banna said, according to Al Borsa.
You can watch the conference in full here (runtime 2:35:25).