Since 2011, Egypt has embarked on a democratic political transition led first and foremost by the Egyptian people’s aspiration for a better future. This political evolution is unlike any Egypt has achieved in its modern history. Driven by our citizens’ demands for both political stability and economic progress, we are together building a new Egypt, one with an inclusive, accountable, responsive and democratic government and one that provides an enhanced and more prosperous future for our citizens.
Since the political turmoil of June 2013, Egypt has progressed immeasurably, with the writing and adoption of a progressive new constitution and the election of a new President. Parliamentary elections will be another historic moment for the Egyptian people, an opportunity to peacefully express their political will and have their voices heard.
A New Progressive Constitution
On the 14th and 15th of January, 2014, over 20 million Egyptians from all parts of society participated in a historic referendum to approve a new constitution. This groundbreaking charter provides the foundation for a truly inclusive and accountable political system while instituting a just body of laws that serves all. The constitution provides Egypt a foundation for a hopeful path forward, one that established accountable, effective and balanced governance, expanded rights for all Egyptians, and corrected the shortcomings of both the 1971 and 2012 charters.
The new constitution’s guarantee of basic freedoms, equal protection, social justice, economic rights, government transparency and political accountability brought Egypt’s diverse population together to overwhelmingly vote ‘Yes.’ Every Egyptian who went to the polls did so bravely in the face of an uncertain security environment as extremist elements attempted to disrupt the vote. Their resiliency and hope is reflected in the constitution and serves as the wellspring for Egypt’s progressive political future.
Historic Presidential Elections
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 al-Sisi. On June 8, 2014, President El Sisi was sworn into office. Addressing the Egyptian people, President El Sisi said “This is a unique and historic moment that constitutes a critical juncture in the history of this nation…We will establish Egypt of the future; a strong country where justice and the right prevail; Egypt that enjoys safety and security; Egypt that enjoys prosperity and progress and believes in science and hard work; Egypt which believes that its resources should be harnessed by its sons for the benefit of its sons.”
Since being sworn in, President El Sisi has bolstered Egypt’s financial future, confronted religious extremism, and been a regional leader on security issues, overall bringing much-needed stability and confidence to Egypt.
Egypt is moving forward with a wide range of vigorous efforts to attract new investment and accelerate growth through long-needed reforms and structural modernizations. After years of stagnation, Egypt is in the midst of an economic transformation. For instance:
- Foreign Direct Investment reached $1.8 billion in the first quarter of 2014/2015, more than double the same period last year.
- Tourism revenues in 2014 rose to $7.5 billion from $5.9 billion the previous year, marking a 27 percent increase. Tourism arrivals increased to 9.9 million tourists, up from 9.5 million in 2013.
- In December 2014 Fitch gave Egypt’s economy a major vote of confidence by upgrading its credit rating to ‘B.’ Fitch also forecasts real GDP growth will rise from 2.1% in 2013 to 4.7% in 2016.
- In February the International Monetary Fund announced the findings of Article IV consultations, the first such review of Egypt’s economy in 4 years. The IMF now predicts that’s Egypt’s growth for FY 2014/2015 will be 8% and rise to 5 percent over the medium term. Fiscal consolidation will bring the budget deficit below 8 percent GDP by 2018/19.
Building an accessible, effective and innovative 21st century economy in Egypt is crucial to expanding opportunity and prosperity for all.
Egypt is one of the nations on the front line of a regional war against radical extremism. Terrorists aligned with global extremist groups are targeting innocent civilians, military and security forces in a deadly campaign to intimidate the Egyptian people and derail our political and economic progress. Attacks in Sinai perpetrated by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) affiliates, ongoing deadly assaults in the Nile Valley and terror campaigns targeting Egyptians along both our Eastern and Western borders show their deadly reach. Over the past year, Egyptian military and security forces have arrested or killed thousands of terrorists, seized thousands of weapons and confiscated tons of explosives. Additionally, Egypt has destroyed well over 1,700 smuggling tunnels that operated for years with impunity, supplying weapons, resources and personnel to terrorist groups targeting Egypt and neighboring countries. As a key part of the coalition confronting ISIS, Egypt is fully committed to combating this deadly terrorist organization and the insidious brand of extremism it represents. Egypt is taking a comprehensive approach, addressing the threat from ISIS through security, diplomatic and cultural means, and urging the international community to come together to resolve this challenge. Egypt is also taking a leading role in confronting the cultural roots of terrorism and violence. President El Sisi has called on the nation’s leading clerics to reinforce the tolerant teachings of Islam and to spark a religious renewal rejecting extremism and hatred of the other.
A New Political Future
Like any democracy, Egypt’s political system will continue to mature and evolve over time. But Egypt has turned the page on past turmoil and uncertainty. This new political process and approach assures that effective, representative and accountable governance is in place, one that works for all the Egyptian people, ensuring peace, prosperity and security for all.