Egypt’s new government continues to demonstrate its commitment to positive reforms. This week, newly appointed Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly held his first weekly cabinet meeting where ministers discussed combatting terrorism, the continuation of important economic reforms, and plans to improve living conditions in Egypt, such as further investments to health and education initiatives.
Read more about Egypt’s new cabinet in this week’s email, including other news you may have missed in the last week about Egypt, the Egypt-U.S. partnership, and other relevant issues. In this round-up:
- New Cabinet Will Continue Economic Reform Program, Increase Education and Health Initiatives
- Operation Sinai Continues to Combat Terror, Secure Sinai
- President El Sisi Meets With Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt in Cairo
- Exports to U.S. Double in 2017 as Egypt Continues to Diversify Economy
- Economic Reforms Advance With Changes to Fuel Subsidies
- Egypt’s Female Police Officers Are Key Resource in Combating Sexual Harassment
NEW CABINET WILL CONTINUE ECONOMIC REFORM PROGRAM, INCREASE EDUCATION AND HEALTH INITIATIVES
On Wednesday, 20 June, newly appointed Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly held his first weekly cabinet meeting, affirming that the government will continue important reform efforts. According to theState Information Service, PM Madbouly said that the government will work to improve living conditions in Egypt with further investments to health and education initiatives, as well as national mega projects. According to Al Ahram, the new government also discussed its continued commitment to the fight against terrorism, including efforts that will address radical thought, and strategies to protect Egypt’s water rights. As for economic development, the government is targeting 7% annual GDP growth, and hopes to decrease the budget deficit while reducing inflation, generating jobs, and decreasing unemployment rates. Additionally, part of the government’s economic strategy involves easing regulations on new factories, supporting SMEs and micro-enterprises, and establishing more national industries that bring foreign investment.
OPERATION SINAI CONTINUES TO COMBAT TERROR, SECURE SINAI
On Thursday, 21 June, the General Command of the Armed Forces released an update on the progress of Operation Sinai 2018. According to Egypt’s State Information Service, Egyptian Armed Forces reported over the past few days they killed 32 terrorists and destroyed 21 targets in North and Central Sinai as part of ongoing efforts to achieve security and stability for the Egyptian people. The statement described other recent successes, including the destruction of two vehicles loaded with large quantities of arms and ammunition, the destruction of 272 hideouts and warehouses belonging to terrorists, and the destruction of a warehouse with large quantities of ammunition and weapons. Operation Sinai 2018 was launched in February 2018 to fight terrorism in North and Central Sinai, other areas in the Nile Delta and the desert areas west of the Nile Valley.
PRESIDENT EL SISI MEETS WITH JARED KUSHNER AND JASON GREENBLATT IN CAIRO
On Thursday, 21 June, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi met with Senior Presidential Advisor Jared Kushner, and Assistant to the President and Special Envoy for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt in Cairo. According to a statement released by Egypt’s Office of the Presidency, President El Sisi “underscored Egypt’s commitment to further enhancing and strengthening the strategic relations with the U.S. so as to serve the common interests of the two countries.” The President also “reviewed Egypt’s efforts to combat terrorism in tandem with its endeavors to achieve economic and social development.”
EXPORTS TO U.S. DOUBLE IN 2017 AS EGYPT CONTINUES TO DIVERSIFY ECONOMY
Egypt’s exports to the United States increased 105.5% last year, reaching LE 23.6 billion (approximately $1.3 billion) in 2017. According to Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), this represented 5.1% of Egypt’s global exports. Egypt’s imports from the U.S. increased 81.4%, reaching LE 69.1 billion (approximately $3.8 billion) in 2017, representing 5.9% of Egypt’s global imports. U.S. investments in Egypt also increased 195.7% in 2017. This news comes as Egypt continues to make strides in diversifying its exports. According to former Minister of Industry and Trade Tarek Kabil, Egypt’s non-petroleum exports rose 16% during the first four months of 2018, recording $8.64 billion, compared to $7.43 billion during the same period of 2017.
ECONOMIC REFORMS ADVANCE WITH CHANGES TO FUEL SUBSIDIES
This week, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El Molla announced that the government would remove fuel subsidies in 2019. As part of Egypt’s ongoing economic reform program, the Government of Egypt has also stated that electricity subsidies will be phased out completely by the end of the 2021/2022 fiscal year. Cutting subsidies to reduce pressure on government spending is one of Egypt’s main economic goals as it proceeds with a series of sweeping economic reforms in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund. To help middle- and lower-income Egyptians through this transition, Radwa El Swaify, head of research at Pharos Holdings, recently told Reuters that “the government has implemented different social packages…trying to alleviate some of the negative impact on the lower income groups.”
EGYPT’S FEMALE POLICE OFFICERS ARE KEY RESOURCE IN COMBATING SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Over the Eid El Fitr holiday, the Ministry of Interior deployed female police officers in Cairo and Giza to combat sexual harassment and violence against women. The female officers were present at the ticket windows of parks and cinemas, where incidents of sexual harassment have been more common as a result of crowd density. According to Al Masry Al Youm, the female police officers have “undergone intensive training to confront, control and paralyze the movement of harassers during arrest until they are taken to the nearest police station to face legal action,” in addition to their regular duties. President El Sisi has spoken out strongly against sexual harassment and violence toward women since his first day in office, when he visited a female victim of sexual assault at the Al Helmiya Military Hospital.