Prime Minister Sherif Ismail today met with the United Nations Resident Coordinator and Representative of the United Nations Development Programme Mr. Richard Dictus in the presence of the Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr on the occasion of assuming his post in Cairo.
The Prime Minister started the meeting with a briefing on political and economic developments experienced by Egypt in the past few years, and what has been achieved in political, economic and legislative reforms. He pointed out to the adoption under the Government’s economic program of serious and bold steps for the sake of boosting the Egyptian economy, including ones that had been postponed for long periods such as the law of civil service, the value-added tax, liberalization of the exchange rate, and reforming the system of subsidies. He stressed the Government’s concern for the social dimension in its reform and development program, and touched on steps taken on the political front to implement the roadmap for political reform up to the municipal elections to be held soon.
Prime Minister Ismail also pointed to a range of challenges currently facing Egypt, including the lack of political and security stability in a number of countries in the Middle East, which casts a shadow on the overall image of the entire region and in turn affects the flow of tourists to Egypt. He cited the phenomenon of terrorism and efforts Egypt is making to eradicate it. He also touched on efforts to achieve sustainable development and improve the living conditions of citizens, through projects for affordable housing, sanitation, drinking water, electricity, education and health services.
The Prime Minister spoke about the State’s policy of urban expansion outside the Nile Delta region, referring in this regard to vast development projects which include reclaiming 1.5 million acres as an ambitious project that is not limited to agriculture but also includes creating new residential communities with all the different services and facilities they require. He also pointed to several economic challenges, particularly the ever-growing population and what it entails in terms of social services, in addition to Egypt’s growing needs for development-related water supplies in spite of limited water resources other than those of the Nile River. Prime Minister Ismail also discussed the Government’s efforts to improve the investment climate, attract foreign investments and increase trade exchange.
For his part, Representative of UNDP underlined the importance the UN attaches to focusing on sustainable development programs, and that he will be keen in his work to support the Egyptian Government’s efforts in this regard so as to achieve the best results of economic and social reforms, especially in relation to the fight against poverty. He added that the focus should be placed on strategies that can achieve a quantum leap in this area, and that he hopes the UN succeeds in helping the Egyptian Government with creative ideas and by providing technical and financial support for the various projects, including small and medium-size enterprises. The UN official also expressed appreciation for the serious steps taken by the Egyptian Government to enhance the economy and achieve social reform, articulating his conviction that this will reflect positively on the lives of Egyptians and will enable the economy to grow. He stressed that he will make sure to convey to the UN organization this positive image and what has been achieved on the ground, notwithstanding the economic and political challenges Egypt is facing. The UN official agreed with the Prime Minister’s emphasis on the importance of continuous coordination and ensuring that projects to be dealt with are consistent with the development priorities set by the Egyptian Government in all fields.