President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said his goal is to build a new Egypt that can provide a decent standard of living for Egyptians.
Al-Sisi’s comments came during the inauguration of several national projects via videoconference on Monday.
The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayyeb, Pope Tawadros II of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, along with a number of high-level officials and ministers.
The president inaugurated several new national development projects across Cairo, including the newly renovated Baron Empain Palace, the Sphinx International Airport, and the New Capital International Airport. The latter two projects are aimed at alleviating pressure on the Cairo International Airport.
The state will continue its move along the path of development, despite the challenges, Al-Sisi said adding, “We work to facilitate the lives of citizens as much as possible.”
In his remarks, the president spoke of the country’s recent achievement in road construction projects which have limited traffic jams. He also clarified the reasons behind recent decisions to halt all construction permits in Egypt for six months.
For the past six years, the state has been developing Egypt’s roads, such as the much used Suez-Cairo road, where there had previously been only two lanes causing frequent traffic jams and tail backs. It has now been enlarged and developed to cover nine lanes in both directions.
Al-Sisi added that, for the Suez Road to be enlarged and developed, a large area was taken from the surrounding military areas and part of the land used by the Egypt-based Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI). The total cost of the enlargement project came in at EGP 3 bn.
He added the 10km-long extensions of the Regional Ring Road were taken from land belonging to the Armed Forces in El Hayksteb, near Nozha in Cairo governorate.
The president noted that the decision to halt construction permits across Egypt was made in everyone’s interests, particularly considering the increasing traffic crisis.
In early June, the Ministry of Local Development announced it was stopping the issuance of building licenses for the construction, expansion, and modification of construction work on private housing. Work has also been stopped on completing construction work for buildings in the Greater Cairo and Alexandria governorates, and major cities, starting from 24 May for a period of six months.
Al-Sisi expressed his dissatisfaction with building violations across Egypt, and questioned officials how these buildings were allowed. He also noted that the state is responsible for dealing with any state-owned land violations, and ensuring the immediate removal of such buildings.
“There were instructions from President Al-Sisi from the very first moment that he assumed responsibility, for developing all sectors,” said Major-General Ihab Al-Far, Head of the Armed Forces’ Engineering Authority.
He added, “The president commissioned the Engineering Authority of the Armed Forces to implement 2,800 projects, at a cost of EGP 1.1trn, with the participation of 1,440 Egyptian national companies, and over 9 million engineers, technicians, and workers, as part of the goals of the National Urban Development Plan of Egypt 2052.”
Moreover, PM Mostafa Madbouly said the value of projects implemented in the past six years has exceeded EGP 4.5trn, with all projects marking the country’s unprecedented development.
Madbouly added that Egypt continues to achieve the best growth rates in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, despite the repercussions of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on global growth rates.
He presented plans for the development of Khedivial Cairo, which began with the renovation of Cairo’s Tahrir Square and development of the Maspero Triangle.
“Egypt is witnessing many projects in all fields, which have achieved a great boom, and led the state to a good position,” Madbouly said. “The economic reform project implemented by the Egyptian state gave it an opportunity to face crises, especially the emerging coronavirus.”
The prime minister also said, “Before the coronavirus pandemic, international institutions acknowledged that Egypt was experiencing the highest growth rate in the Middle East region, but many economic aspects were affected in the country. We previously expected that the growth rate next year would be 7%, but because of the virus, we expect it to be only 4%.”
Madbouly noted, “All global economic studies confirm a decline in the global economy, of at least 5%, due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, which has lead countries to the need to develop a plan to confront the crisis.”
Egypt is currently undertaking an estimated $19bn in huge energy sector projects, indicating that the government is expanding and developing the electricity and distribution networks, Madbouly said.
The prime minister noted that the size of future government investments in fiscal year (FY) 2020/21, which begins on 1 July, is estimated at EGP 300bn. He added that the state also seeks the restoration of about 1.2m feddan in the upcoming period, to help achieve agricultural self-sufficiency.
The state has also allocated EGP 15bn to the telecommunications sector in FY 2020/21 to upgrade the sector’s infrastructure and scale up services provided to citizens, Madbouly said.
During the ceremony, a documentary, entitled “A Civilizational Transition”, was screened showing the most important places of historic interest located in Egypt’s capital.
The documentary stressed the importance of the development projects in the eastern Cairo neighbourhood of Heliopolis.
It also highlighted the area’s importance as a vital artery linking Cairo with the Ring Road, the Ain Sokhna Road, Suez, and Ismailia. It also highlighted Heliopolis’ importance as one of the access routes to the New Administrative Capital (NAC), alongside its development to meet the demands of increased urban movement and ensure the fluidity of traffic movement.
The video reviewed the new bridges and axes built in Heliopolis, comprising 10 roads totalling a length of 15km, alongside five bridges spanning over 3km.
In the second stage, the documentary showed five roads that were developed over a length of 8km, alongside five bridges of a total length of 2km. This comes in addition to the construction of five roads over a total length of 13km in the Nasr City, alongside three other bridges at a total length of 3km.