Friday,16 November, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1330, (2 - 8 February 2017)
Friday,16 November, 2018
Issue 1330, (2 - 8 February 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Once again with youth

At the second National Youth Conference Al-Sisi issued nine presidential decrees

Once again with youth
Once again with youth

President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi issued nine presidential decrees at the closing session of the second National Youth Conference which took place in Aswan on 27-28 January. The conference focussed on challenges facing Upper Egypt governorates, and how they can progress. During the inaugural ceremony, Al-Sisi took a cruise along the River Nile with youths aboard. The president along with the passengers waved to the public and surrounding boats.

The two-day conference, attended by more than 1,300 young people along with MPs and several ministers, was the second such youth gathering. The first was in October in Sharm El-Sheikh.

Among the president’s decrees in Aswan was the establishment of an authority to develop Upper Egypt and create job opportunities with investments of up to LE5 billion over the next five years. The second decree called on the completion of development projects carried out in Nasr Al-Nubia and the allocation of LE320 million to complete the projects before the end of June 2018. The president instructed the government in the third decree to establish industrial areas for small-sized industries, as well as 200 small factories in all Upper Egypt governorates over the coming six months.

The fourth decree focussed on broadening social protection through the continued development of the Takaful and Karama programme organised by the Ministry of Social Solidarity.

In the fifth presidential decree, Al-Sisi instructed the government to do more to improve the quality of life in Upper Egypt through education, health, transportation and housing. The sixth focussed on the rapid completion of the Golden Triangle project in Qena, Safaga and Qusseir over five stages which seeks to establish regions for mineral industries and international touristic regions to turn the area into an attractive site for tourism.

The seventh decree stipulated the transformation of Aswan into a capital for African economy and culture, marking the 200th anniversary of the discovery of the Abu Simbel Temple. The eighth decree halts work on the 12,000-acre governmental project in Khour Qendi following protests from Nubian residents in the area.

Decree 9 addressed the possibility of reviewing additional compensation for people displaced following the construction of the Aswan High Dam. A review will be undertaken by a national committee assigned to finish its assessment within six months.

During the conference, Al-Sisi stated that Nubia was an important part of Egypt. He said the government was working hard to improve it and that the state was currently working on a development apparatus to follow up on projects to be established there.

In November 2016 Nubians protested against the government’s 1.5 million feddan reclamation project. The plan, drawn up by the Egyptian Countryside Development Company, would sell 10 acres from two villages in Aswan for investments.

The president pointed to the country’s ability to “curtail strife” and that Egyptians will be united in order to develop society and realise prosperity.

During the discussions, Al-Sisi said the country’s overpopulation was hindering economic development. “Overpopulation is a huge challenge that should be seriously tackled on behalf of both the government and people,” Al-Sisi said.

On the first day of deliberations, the president talked about recent government efforts to build sanitation stations in 4,500 villages across Egypt for LE180 billion.

Asked on the future of Egypt’s share of River Nile waters with regard to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Al-Sisi said cooperation was ongoing with Ethiopians according to the Principles Declaration on the dam. “Responses related to statements on the issue should be carefully studied. Concerns of Egyptians regarding the GERD are legitimate. The River Nile has been part of Egyptians’ lives for thousands of years. It is a matter of life and death that no one can tamper with.”

“No need to worry as this matter will be thoroughly discussed while attending the African Union Summit,” Al-Sisi added.

Regarding the possible transfer of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Al-Sisi said that Egypt was working to ensure that such a move would not complicate the Palestinian issue further. “Our position regarding the Palestinian issue is clear,” said Al-Sisi. “It is a critical part in the history of the region, and the Palestinians should be granted peace.” During the conference, the president delivered a message to the world, including Americans and Israelis, “not to complicate the situation more than it is now”.

The president highlighted the launching of 238 projects in Upper Egypt, to improve 3,258 school classes, with 179 new classes to be built through a joint Egyptian-Japanese programme. “In 2014, we launched a project to reduce poverty and raise living standards in the governorates of Assiut, Sohag and Qena by granting loans for low income families for the implementation of small and micro-projects that has now reached LE147 million,” Al-Sisi said.

The president said the Takaful and Karama programme covers more than 1,700 villages in Upper Egypt. The programme allocates 82 per cent of its funding for Upper Egypt governorates, covering 1.1 million households, and has increased funding for food to cover more than 9,400 schools for LE850 million during the 2016-2017 academic year.

A power plant with a capacity of 4,000 megawatts has been built in Beni Sweif with a total investment of 2 billion euros. In Assiut, a power station with a total capacity of 1,000 megawatts has been built for $746 million.

During the president’s stay in Aswan, he strolled the streets where he met a number of tourists and shook their hands. Later, Al-Sisi and some youths turned on the TV to watch Egypt beat Ghana in the Africa Cup of Nations.

The president also inaugurated Aswan Public Hospital which has 15 outpatient clinics. The new six-floor hospital cost LE140 million.

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