Over three days in May 2014, more than 25 million Egyptians from all parts of society braved extreme heat and the threat of terrorism to elect a new civilian President, Abdel Fattah El Sisi. On 8 June 2014, President El Sisi was sworn into office. Since then, he has led the country on a path toward security, stability and opportunity for all and reestablished Egypt’s regional and global leadership role.
Under President El Sisi’s leadership, Egypt has reasserted its traditional role as an anchor of stability and promoted new policies that have enhanced regional security. Central to this are President El Sisi’s efforts to confront terrorism with both military and ideological might. Militarily, Egypt is rooting out terrorists wherever they threaten Egyptians, whether within or beyond our borders. And to defeat the ideological roots of terrorism, President El Sisi has called on the Egyptian people and the nation’s leading clerics to reinforce the tolerant teachings of Islam, reject fanaticism and commit to Islam’s tenants of tolerance and moderation.
In addition, President El Sisi has pursued a balanced foreign policy and strengthened crucial bilateral relations with strategic partners, including the United States. During President El Sisi’s visit to Washington in April 2017, he and President Trump reaffirmed their commitment to this partnership, and especially to working together with regional partners to combat terrorism and promote stability in the Middle East. And the following day, in a series of meetings with President El Sisi on Capitol Hill, the leaders of Congress shared their resolve to support these efforts.
On the economic front, President El Sisi has implemented an ambitious and transformative plan to advance Egypt’s vast economic potential. Having inherited an economic system burdened with structural impediments to growth, the government today is working on multiple tracks to construct a modern, responsive and equitable economy. The broad package of reforms initiated soon after President El Sisi assumed office included sound fiscal policies and tax reforms aimed at reducing the deficit and attracting foreign investment. As a result, the economy is expanding again after a period of stagnation. The Big Three ratings agencies have all upgraded Egypt or positively revised their outlooks while commercial megaprojects like the Suez Canal expansion and accompanying Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) will enhance the competitiveness of the economy, create employment opportunities and attract foreign and domestic private investments.
President El Sisi’s commitment to comprehensive economic reform is reflected in the November 2016 agreement reached between Egypt and the International Monetary Fund on a $12 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) loan package. The home-grown reform program, augmented by the EFF arrangement, will support Egypt’s ongoing economic modernization while reducing the deficit and protecting the country’s most vulnerable citizens.
Alongside these fiscal and structural reforms, President El Sisi is also improving and expanding engagement with the 52 percent of Egypt’s population that is aged 24 or younger. In October 2016, President El Sisi, alongside other senior government officials, hosted the first annual youth conference in Sharm El Sheikh for an open exchange on key issues facing their generation, including education, the economy, political participation, freedom of expression and reforming religious discourse.
Finally, in line with Egypt’s legacy as an inclusive and tolerant nation unified by a unique and enduring cultural cohesion, President El Sisi has joined Coptic Pope Tawadros II at Coptic Christmas celebrations at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo since 2014. During his 2017 visit, President El Sisi announced Egypt’s plan to build what will be the country’s largest church and mosque, which will stand together “side by side” in Cairo and will be completed by 2018. In addition, President El Sisi welcomed Pope Francis to Egypt in April 2017—the first papal visit to Egypt since Pope John Paul II in 2000—which further underscored Egypt’s traditional role as a nation that has fostered the peaceful coexistence of multiple faiths for millennia.