Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said on Saturday that the government is formulating a plan to enhance domestic industrial production and reduce imports, with the goal of addressing the ongoing economic challenges in the nation.
Sisi, also Egypt’s top military leader, made these remarks during his inspection tour of the Egyptian Military Academy, which was broadcasted on Egyptian state TV.
“Despite these difficult conditions, we are keen on working hard in all fields, and we are persistent in finding permanent solutions to this economic crisis,” the Egyptian president said.
He noted that expanding agricultural production is part of the plan to reduce imports and boost the economy, adding that Egypt’s agricultural lands would be largely expanded.
Sisi attributed the economic hardships facing the country to repercussions of global crises, particularly the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
To address economic challenges, Egypt sought financial support from the International Monetary Fund, which approved a 46-month, 3-billion-U.S. dollar loan in December 2022 to finance the country’s economic and structural reforms.
The most populous Arab country’s foreign debt reached 165.3 billion dollars by the end of March, registering a 4.8-percent increase compared to the same period in 2022, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) reported in late July.
Having undergone devaluation twice in 2022, the Egyptian pound has shed roughly half its value since March 2022, with the official exchange rate pegging one dollar at approximately 31 pounds.
In early August, the CBE raised interest rates by 100 basis points to counter soaring inflation, citing a rise in Egypt’s annual urban headline inflation to 35.7 percent in June from 32.7 percent in May, while the annual core inflation advanced from 40.3 percent in May to 41 percent in June.
Besides boosting industry and agriculture, the Egyptian government is also working to attract foreign investments and promote the tourism sector as sources of hard currency to help with the country’s economic challenges, Sisi added.
“We have gone through many crises in Egypt, but with hard work and persistence, we managed to overcome them,” said the Egyptian president.