Sahar Ibrahim, Mohamed Nasr Sobi, Ahmed Suleiman and Mohamed Khamis
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said Egypt spent over $400 billion in the past seven years to get out of the labyrinth of poverty.
Addressing attendees at a session on poverty within the World Youth Forum (WYF) in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Tuesday, the Egyptian leader added that poverty needed to be fought through hard work and skill.
“Poverty destroys the present and the future and kills peoples’ hopes,” President Sisi said.
He described poverty as a ‘pandemic’ that destroys the present and the future.
Poverty, he added, is a problem that needs to be dealt with firmly.
He said the $400 billion spent by his government on poverty eradication in the past seven years are the equivalent of 6 trillion Egyptian pounds.
This money was spent so that Egyptians can get out of the poverty quagmire.
President Sisi added that over 4,500 companies did work in one of the sectors of the economy in the past seven years to the tune of 1.1 trillion Egyptian pounds.
The Egyptian leader said the world was just celebrating the exit of 1 billion people from the cycle of poverty before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The pandemic, he added, makes it necessary for the world to work hard to protect the gains of this 1 billion people and prevent them from drifting into poverty again.
The president called on WYF organizers to give the chance for foreign youths to see the unique Egyptian experience, including as far as the presidential Decent Life initiative is concerned.
Foreign youths, he said, can benefit from this experience.
He added that his government would keep working to get poor Egyptians out of poverty.
President Sisi said Egypt followed the guidelines of the World Health Organization in dealing with the pandemic.
“We also put a series of precautionary measures in place,” President Sisi said.
He added that 60% of Africans suffer from poverty.
“This makes it necessary for us to work hard until this poverty is something of the past,” the president said.
He said he talked to several organizations about the need for providing African countries with low-cost credit to help them improve the living conditions of their peoples.
The president said financing institutions usually give African countries credit with high costs.
The high cost of credit, the president said, increases burdens for African countries.
“The same cost means that African countries will remain in the deficit stage,” the president said.
He added that peoples cannot keep tolerating poverty which opens the door for revolutions and instability.
The president noted that this instability also leads to the destruction of states which makes them a fertile soil for terrorism and illegal immigration.
President Sisi attended another session on Tuesday on the reconstruction of countries post-conflicts.
He called for stopping conflicts in regional states as a prelude for the reconstruction of these states.
The president added that this reconstruction could not start without suspending the conflicts first.
He said the reconstruction of states ravaged by conflicts would cost a lot in financial terms.
Nonetheless, he said, rehabilitating the peoples of these countries and treating the human aspect of the conflict would cost even more.
President Sisi said Egyptian training institutes are always open to welcome Yemenis as well as all Arabs.
“Some Arab countries send their youth to our training institutes to receive training,” the president said.
“Egypt is always ready to offer support in this regard with all humbleness,” he added.
President Sisi noted that Egyptian companies would also be ready to offer support in Yemen’s reconstruction after the end of the conflict in it, along with companies from other Arab states.
He referred to Egypt’s allocation of $500 million for the reconstruction of the Palestinian Gaza Strip.
Egypt, he said, had hoped to offer more money for the reconstruction of the Palestinian territory.
President Sisi also called on the international community to support UNRWA so that it can offer help to Gazans.
He asked Egyptian companies implementing Egypt’s reconstruction plan in Gaza, whose second stage started in December of last year, to accelerate their work and finalize the project according to schedule.
President Sisi noted that the Arab region paid dearly because of rampant conflicts in it and the interference of some regional and international powers in its states’ affairs.
He warned against imposing change in countries by force.
This change, he said, can cause things spill out of control and open the door for massive devastation.
He said Egypt could go along the same road to destruction, which could cause unending suffering to its population of 100 million.
The Egyptian leader said construction opens the door for hope among youths.
“Conflict and destruction, on the other hand, lead to nothing but pain and suffering,” he said.
The WYF kicked off on Monday with a message of peace to the world.
The forum, personally sponsored by President Sisi, brings together thousands of the world’s most enlightened youths, strives to be a platform for dialogue, coexistence and sharing.
The agenda of the forum for this year is full of discussions about a wide range of important issues, including poverty eradication, climate change, and entrepreneurship.