Egyptian president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi attended the ceremony of Egyptian Youth Day and the launch of the Knowledge Bank website at the Cairo Opera House, Saturday morning.
Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, Minister of Youth and Sports Khaled Abdul-Aziz, Minister of Defence and Military Production Sedki Sobhi, and a number of other ministers and senior state officials also attended the ceremony.
“This day is one of my best days since I see honourable examples of the youth,” Al-Sisi said. He added that he has ordered a number of decisions to activate the role of youths in the labour system.
“I asked the Central Bank [of Egypt (CBE)] to implement a comprehensive programme to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to promote financing small and medium-sized companies owned by youths to reach the rate of not less than 20%. The banking sector is required to provide EGP 200bn to allow 350,000 companies to provide job opportunities for about four million people. We decided to ease the burden on young people and not to increase the interest rates to small businesses to more than 5% per year.”
Regarding education, Al-Sisi said he ordered the formation of a specialised committee, including prominent specialists from ministries and councils, to update the curricula on all academic levels. They would take into account a set of goals to keep up with the latest international curricula and the consolidation of values and ethics in various stages of education. Al-Sisi further called for the committee’s work to be completed within three months.
“Because sport transcends morality and spirit, I let the cabinet expand its activities in physical activity with the launch of league sports in schools and universities all over the country,” Al-Sisi said.
Minister of Youth and Sports Khaled Abdul-Aziz also gave a speech, expressing his hope that the Egyptian nation would achieve more achievements and ambitions in the new year by pushing forward on the path of progress and development.
In his speech, he said Egypt has written its new constitution, elected its president, and elected its parliament in three stages through a stable and secure election climate.
“Our new constitution affirmed the youth’s representation in the first House of Representatives after its endorsement and the allocation of 25% of the popular local councils’ seats for youth, leading to the election of 57 members of parliament under 35 years of age, who will be sworn in [on Sunday],” Abdul-Aziz said.
Moreover, Al-Sisi continued that Egypt is a homeland for all people, and is not restricted to a certain segment or group, noting there are no exceptions for certain ideological or geographic groups.
“My message to young people is to stick to morality and true religion. I will not allow Egypt to be lost,” he said.
Further, Al-Sisi highlighted the role of arts and culture, saying: “As we are fully aware that the real battle to save this country is the battle to maintain its identity, culture and the arts should have a better position in the youths’ interests agenda.”
Al-Sisi thereby announced that he has ordered the cabinet to establish a ministerial group of concerned ministries to cooperate with the specialist councils and specialised national institutions to revive the role of culture. This will occur through the expansion of cultural and artistic events and the establishment of art competitions among the youth at universities and schools on a national level.