How El-Sisi Is Saving Egypt

When he assumed Egypt’s presidency in June, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi announced he would introduce painful measures to revive the country’s battered economy.

The measures, he said, would shore up the Egyptian gross national product, GNP, reduce the trade deficit and the weak status of the treasury that ex-president Mohamed Morsi left in June 30, 2013. The foreign currency reserve in January 2011 was worth $43bn, with an economic growth rate of seven per cent.

By June 2013, the foreign currency reserve had dropped to less than $8bn, with an economic growth rate less than two per cent.

“We are to build a new Egypt for our children and generations to come. I don’t have the magic spell to overcome all these challenges, except my belief in the Egyptian people,” President el-Sisi declared on his first day as president.

“All I can promise you is hard work and transparency and I shall need your sacrifices.”

It is well known that some Gulf states rushed after the June 30 revolution to help Egypt. Unfortunately, some major traditional donors, once considered allies, turned their back away from the Egyptians – punishing them for regaining their full will to get rid of a dark religious regime deciding how to reshape their future, and under whose leadership.

Economic aid programmes stopped and agreed-upon deals were rejected. President el-Sisi’s vision leaned toward moving forward regardless of the isolation. He promised that mega projects would help turn around the fortunes of the country.

Therefore, President el-Sisi, announced the first mega project – the New Suez Canal, meant to secure a large width along the 193km waterway to easily accommodate two lanes of traffic for vessels. This, he said, would reduce the transit time at both ends and double the capacity of the Suez Canal from 49 to 97 vessels a day.

The feasibility study showed that the cost of the expansion is about $7.5bn, and that the expansion would take three years. El-Sisi instructed that construction should take only one year. He then turned to the Egyptian people. He declared the need to collect $7.5bn to finance the project and that he will issue a special five-year investment certificate for Egyptian contributors only.

Those certificates start from $15 for students and children and could reach any limit. The estimate was that the required amount would be collected in five months. To many people’s surprise, on September 8, 2014, Bank of Egypt (BOE) started issuing those certificates.

On September 17, after six working days only, and on the 100th day of the presidency of el-Sisi, BOE declared that it had stopped issuing those certificates as it had collected $7.7bn, more than the money needed for the project.

Source : The Observer