Hariri: We have to learn from the Egyptian experience

The President of the Council of Ministers Saad Hariri said that “the most important common challenge today in the Arab countries is to stimulate growth and diversify its sources to create jobs for our youth. We are now convinced that this cannot be achieved without implementing reforms that can develop our national economies. And that without the modernization of our procedures, laws and administrations and the promotion of governance and transparency, the private sector cannot realize its potential, and therefore there would be no growth nor prosperity”.

Prime Minister Hariri took these stances during his participation today in the Arab Economic Forum 2019 at the Four Seasons Hotel, with the participation of the Egyptian Prime Minister Dr. Mostafa Madbouly and many Lebanese, Egyptian and Arab officials and businessmen.

Hariri said: I welcome all of you in Beirut. I have the honor to welcome my brother and friend Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, Prime Minister of the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, Mr. Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and all Arab ministers, leaders, businessmen and bankers.

This forum is taking place at a time when our Arab region is going through a delicate stage that requires us to raise the level of communication and strengthen our cooperation.

The meeting of the Lebanese-Egyptian Higher Joint Committee in Beirut tomorrow aims to lay the foundations for further cooperation and coordination between Lebanon and Egypt to promote trade exchange and joint investments.

The most important common challenge today among the Arab countries is to stimulate growth and diversify its sources to create jobs for our youth. We are now convinced that this cannot be achieved without implementing reforms that can develop our national economies. Everyone sees reform as a gateway to a strong national economy and a better tomorrow for our youth.

We should learn from what happened in countries that suffered from corruption, squander and lack of job opportunities and are now developed countries. When President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi became President and decided with a team and with the Prime Minister and the ministers to change the direction of Egypt, this is what happened.

Sometimes change is difficult, because people are used to being in a specific situation they do not want to get out of, they are comfortable with their situation and refuse to change.

But after the events that took place in Egypt, president Sisi discovered to what extent Egypt is behind, as we are today in Lebanon in terms of our old laws, so we must update all the laws in Lebanon as Egypt has done in recent years and continues to do so.

Therefore, we have to learn from the Egyptian experience and expertise, whether in the fields of electricity, communications, gas, oil or other sectors. What we are trying to do today in Lebanon is actually the same as Egypt did, but the difference is that Egypt suffered economically more than Lebanon. Today we have a choice in Lebanon. Do we want to reach a place where we fall economically? Or look at Egypt, president like Sisi and Prime Minister Madbouly and say that this is the experience we should implement?

As Prime Minister Madbouly said, we look at China and see where it is. For 30 years, it has been changing its programs, and it decided that it wants to be the leader in terms of artificial intelligence. Egypt has also decided that it wants to develop itself within the next 10 to 15 years and become a developed country as it was in the past.

We in Lebanon want to do this. In the Gulf, there are changes and openness. Today we see it in Egypt. Hopefully, it will extend to the entire Arab world so that we are one team and work together. The Lebanese-Egyptian Higher Committee is moving along this path. If the Silk Road will pass through our entire region, we must build the path of the Arab states so that our economies develop.

Finally, I would like to thank Prime Minister Madbouly and all of you. In Lebanon, there are great challenges facing us, but I can tell you that the President of the Republic and I, as well as the Speaker of the Parliament, have the determination to carry out the necessary reforms despite the difficulties that exist. It is not easy, especially if we want to fight corruption and squander. Squander is our main problem in the Arab countries. What we are wasting is the time we spend without developing our laws. When our electricity bills reach 40 billion dollars, this is squander and corruption also. That is why we are implementing optimistic reform plans. Some ask how can we implement these reforms. I say that these reforms are in the interest of the Lebanese citizen and the young men and women who do not find jobs at the moment.

When Martyr Prime Minister Rafic Hariri came to Lebanon, there was nothing but destruction and he rebuilt the country and we shall continue this path.

Source: National News Agency