Wednesday,20 September, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1359, (7 - 13 September 2017)
Wednesday,20 September, 2017
Issue 1359, (7 - 13 September 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Egypt’s Vision 2030

Egypt’s Strategy for Sustainable Development, or Vision 2030, sets out an inclusive vision of a future Egypt that serves all its citizens, writes Hala Al-Said


اقرأ باللغة العربية


It has been said that “no country that has forged an ambitious vision that reflects the will of the people has failed to progress.” Egypt’s Strategy for Sustainable Development, or Vision 2030, is the roadmap that will shape the future to which the country’s citizens aspire.

Its preparation has drawn on extensive and broadly based social participation in order to harmonise the goals of government ministries and agencies with the outlooks of the private sector, civil society, national and international organisations, experts and academics. This participatory approach is one of the main foundations on which the strategy rests.

 

ON THE SHOULDERS OF THE PAST

The strategy takes into account the priorities, principles and requirements of the 2014 Constitution and draws on lessons learned from the outstanding plans and studies prepared and implemented before it at the local and international levels. It is consistent with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) adopted in September 2015 and with the African Agenda 2063.

 

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS

Egypt’s Vision 2030 is rooted in the concept of sustainable development. It seeks to improve the quality of life of people today without prejudicing the rights of future generations to better lives and brighter futures. It incorporates the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, setting up ten pillars beneath them.

The Strategy’s Economic Dimension consists of the pillars of economic development, energy, innovation and scientific research, together with the transparency and efficiency of governmental institutions. Under the Social Dimension come the pillars of social justice, education and training, health and culture, while the Environmental Dimension includes the pillars of the environment and urban development.

Foreign policy, national security and domestic policy form the overarching schema for the strategy and set the determinants of the ten pillars. Each sets out strategic targets and performance indicators that identify the current situation and the standards to be attained by 2020 and 2030. They also outline anticipated challenges and the programmes and projects that will be carried out in order to meet strategic targets.

 

INCLUSIVE GROWTH FOR BALANCED REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT

The strategy aims to set in motion an ambitious march towards a more advanced and prosperous nation. It seeks to optimise the many assets and competitive advantages of the Egyptian economy in order to ensure geographical, sectoral and environmental balance. It employs the concept of inclusive growth such that economic growth occurs in tandem with the drive towards social justice so that the poor do not have to wait in order to reap its benefits. Inclusive growth seeks to promote a balance between the different classes of society and the various regions of the country in order to ensure that positive outcomes reach all segments of society and all parts of the country. 

 

A NATION MEETING THE ASPIRATIONS OF ITS PEOPLE

The strategy calls for more than 200 programmes and projects that aim to build an Egypt that will have a competitive, balanced and diversified economy by 2030 and one based on innovation and knowledge. This will be an Egypt founded on justice, social integration and participation, an Egypt that has a balanced and diverse ecosystem and one that invests in the genius of place and human beings in order to realise UN Sustainable Development Goals and a better quality of life for all Egyptian people.

 

A SUCCESS STORY BACKED BY POLITICAL SUPPORT

In incorporating sustainable development into the planning system, the government has embraced Egypt’s Vision 2030 as the framework for development plans in the coming phase. President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi launched the Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt’s Vision 2030 in February 2016, setting in motion the drafting of the government’s mid-term vision to June 2018 that Prime Minister Sherif Ismail submitted to parliament on 27 March 2016.

Paving the way to practical implementation, two sustainable development plans were created for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 fiscal years, as well as a mid-term sustainable development plan up to the 2019-2020 fiscal year. The economic and social reform programme that the government is currently carrying out also expresses the strategy’s principles, policies and programmes.

This applies particularly to priorities like rebuilding investor confidence in the Egyptian economy, stimulating private-sector-led economic growth by improving the business environment, and applying fiscal policies that aim to decrease inflation rates, increase the country’s foreign currency reserves, and reduce the budget deficit. Another equally important priority is to correct detrimental impacts of the economic reform measures on limited-income sectors of the population.

 

IMPLEMENTATION HAS BEGUN

We have begun the implementation of the Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt’s Vision 2030. Many of the national projects listed under the Economic Development pillar are now in progress, including such mega-projects as the Suez Canal Development Corridor, the new administrative capital, the four-million-acre land reclamation project, the Northwest Coast development project, the Golden Triangle mineral wealth project, the construction of a million housing units, the creation of a Furniture City in Damietta, the 30 June Axis and New Galalah City project and the Cairo underground extensions.

At the sectorial level, the strategy proposes 12 industrial complexes for small and medium-size industries in Port Said, Mahalla Kubra, Badr City, Sadat City, Alexandria, Luxor, Assiut, Qena, Sohag, Minya, Beni Soueif and Fayoum. Some 16.4 million square metres of land has been designated to develop industrial activities from 2016 to June 2017. This amount is expected to increase to 28.5 million square metres by the end of 2017.

In order to realise the strategic target of the Energy pillar, during 2016 and the first half of 2017 the electricity sector has succeeded in adding 5,650 megawatts (MW) to the national grid through the 650 MW power station in Suez, 12 units of the Siemens power station projects (in Beni Soueif, West Berlis and the new administrative capital) supplying 4,800 MW, and the wind power station at Jebel Al-Zeit adding another 200 MW. There are also some 60 new oil-and-gas exploration and prospecting agreements bringing in around $30 billion in direct foreign investment. The aim is to attain self-sufficiency in natural gas by the end of 2018.

To attain the targets of the Social Justice pillar and ensure the protection of the neediest groups, the government has recently allocated more than LE83 billion to supplementary social protection programmes. These include increasing pensions and social insurance, increasing allocations for food subsidies, and raising the income tax exemption limit.

The government has been equally determined to attain the targets of the Education pillar, especially improving the quality of education and making education available to all. Some 170,000 administrative, teaching and technical staff have been trained during the past two years, 70 textbooks have been revised, new curricula have been prepared for schools for outstanding students, and 8,265 new classrooms have added to the school system. 101 community schools have been established.

For the targets identified in the Health pillar and to bring about comprehensive health coverage in Egypt, a new health insurance law was promulgated in May 2017. Under this new law, the comprehensive health insurance system will be introduced in four phases over the course of 12 years, starting from 2018, at the rate of two years for each phase, such that the new law will cover about 92 per cent of the population by the end of the implementation period in 2029. 

The social role of the state is underlined in the achievements of the national social housing programme, part of the Urban Development pillar. Introduced in March 2014, this is the largest housing project in the history of Egypt and is the largest such project worldwide. 240,000 new social housing units have already been completed. Another 300,000 are targeted for completion by the end of the 2017-2018 financial year.

 

PERFORMANCE-BASED FOLLOW-UP

Proper follow-up and evaluation are essential in order to ensure the thorough implementation of the programmes and projects included in the strategy within their allotted timeframes. With this in mind, and given the governmental transparency and efficiency pillar of the strategy and the transition to performance-based programmes and a projects-based budgeting approach, follow-up has been automated and training programmes set in motion.

Guidelines have been drawn up for all government agencies to enable them to prepare and follow through on their plans in a properly professional manner using the latest methods and in a way that ensures transparency and accountability. Training in the identification of performance indicators to measure the economic, social and environmental outputs of programmes and projects is also underway.

 

INCORPORATING CIVIL SOCIETY AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR

These efforts in preparing, executing and following through on the implementation of the strategy have been strongly supported by the government and political leadership. During the Youth Conference held in Alexandria in July 2017, President Al-Sisi encouraged all Egyptian citizens, young people above all, to participate in follow-up processes instituted with a view to ensuring transparency and accountability. He conveyed a message, not just to the Egyptian people but also to the world as a whole, that Egypt has embarked on a new period in its history in which the welfare of the nation and its citizens is paramount.

In view of the ambitions that Egypt’s Vision 2030 aims to achieve, more participation between all parties and sectors of society is required in order to move forward in the implementation of the ambitious programmes and projects outlined in Egypt’s Strategy for Sustainable Development.


The writer is Egyptian minister of Planning and Administrative Reform.

add comment

  
 
 
  • follow us on