Top News: President Sisi Delivers Comprehensive Speech on Governance, Security, and Development

During what was announced as a monthly speech to the nation on Tuesday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi addressed a number of the country’s developmental issues, providing statistics for each. Sisi refrained from going into detail on many of the government’s current projects, “because evil forces are trying to put a stop to the march of development.” In his speech, Sisi admitted that corruption is a significant problem in Egypt, stating that the issue requires a lot of time and effort to fix. He said 334 corruption cases have been filed so far, including cases of bribery, misuse of power, causing harm to public money, profiteering, and seizure of state lands. A land reclamation project to reclaim one million feddans (or acres) of land will be completed in no longer than two years, Sisi said. He noted that 600 terrorists were arrested during the past month alone, and that the arrests were within the framework of the law, despite “some demands that call on the state to be more violent within this framework.” On the Suez Canal megaproject, Sisi announced that the new canal will be inaugurated on August 6. All dry drilling at the new canal site has been completed, along with 65 percent of dredging, which is being finished at “an unprecedented speed,” he said. Sisi also announced that an emergency plan is being implemented to avoid power cuts in the summer, and provide more energy, with 3,600 megawatts of electricity introduced by August and an additional 3,000 megawatts by the end of December. Sisi also aimed to reassure the public on price hikes in Ramadan, saying the government is working on providing basic food commodities at reasonable prices.  On development, Sisi said that by August, some 3,200 km of roads will be finished, including a 400-km regional ring road that connects more than 20 governorates; that 100 of Egypt’s poorest towns will be developed; Over the past 10 months, some 70,000 housing units have been completed and another 170,000 are anticipated to be completed by the end of the year. Sisi also revealed a planned project in the Nile Delta city of Damietta for the launch of a furniture business hub. Sisi also said one million workers will be participating in the national projects underway. [DNE, Mada Masr, Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online, Cairo Post, 5/12/2015]

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  • Wafd chairman faces party infighting, media battles ahead of Friday elections | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt’s Sisi wants 1mn Hepatitis C doses from drug companies | Ahram Online


Al-Jama’a al-Islamiya chairman arrested
Security authorities in Qena arrested Chairman of al-Jama’a al-Islamiya Essam Derbala, the ministry of interior announced on its Facebook page on Wednesday. Derbala was arrested late Tuesday in Upper Egypt’s Qena, and Derbala’s defense team said that the prosecution is questioning him on his membership in the banned Muslim Brotherhood-led National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL). The Islamist group has played a key role in the founding of the NASL in June 2013 to rally around then besieged Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. [Ahram Online, Cairo Post, Aswat Masriya (Arabic), 5/13/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Eight Morsi supporters sentenced to life in prison over unrest | Ahram Online
  • Mubarak’s prison sentence already served in past detention period – source | Aswat Masriya , Cairo post  
  • Public Prosecutor refers Yasmine al-Narsh to criminal court for assaulting a police officer | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
  • Court of Cassation accepts appeal of policeman convicted in torture and death of Sayed Bilal | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


Egypt sees growth at 3 percent in second half of fiscal year
Egypt’s Planning Minister Ashraf al-Araby said on Wednesday the country’s average economic growth was expected to be 3 percent in the second half of the 2014/2015 fiscal year, compared with 5.6 percent in the first half of the year. Araby told reporters at a news conference that average economic growth for the current fiscal year would be 4 percent, or slightly above 4 percent. [Ahram Online, Reuters, 5/13/2015]

UAE to invest $2 billion in Egypt in housing projects says Investment Minister
The UAE will start pumping approximately $2 billion in investments in Egypt during the next fiscal year (FY) 2015/2016, according Minister of Investment Ashraf Salman. Salman disclosed his agreement with the UAE’s Minister of State, Sultan al-Jaber, over directing these investments to housing and labor-intensive projects. Speaking to Daily News Egypt on Tuesday, Salman said that he met with al-Jaber last Sunday, and agreed on pumping the Emirati investments into labor-intensive projects to create youth employment. [DNE, 5/12/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Gulf Extrusions sees demand for aluminum products rising in Egypt |Ahram Online
  • Telecom Egypt posts 9.9 percent rise in Q1 net profit | Ahram Online, Reuters
  • Concern as defense ministry sets sights on telecoms controls |DNE  
  • Tax law collects 20 percent from online advertisers | DNE
  • Egypt’s central bank imposes an interest rate ceiling on US dollar deposits | Egypt Independent
  • Minister: Airbus, Boeing offer to update EgyptAir’s fleet | Egypt Independent
  • FM: Tripartite economic summit opportunity for further talks between Sisi, African leaders | SIS
  • Workers claim increasing punitive measures are the result of state discrimination | Mada Masr
  • Sisi reviews housing projects with ministers | Cairo Post
  • $13 million in illegal transactions monitored between Egyptian, Libyan traders | Cairo Post
  • Minister of Social Solidarity calls on US businessmen to participate in Egypt’s path to change | EGYNews (Arabic)


Mahlab asks French authorities to shut down pro-Brotherhood channel
During his recent two day visit to Paris, Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab asked France’s High Audio Visual Council to halt the broadcast of a pro-Brotherhood television channel, Al Sharq. The channel is reportedly owned by a Muslim Brotherhood member, Bassem al-Khafagy, and is transmitting via French satellite company Eutelsat. During his meeting in Paris on Tuesday, Mahlab said, “We must thank the council of accepting our request to close Raba’a private channel which broadcast anti-state programs.” Earlier this month, French authorities shut down another pro-Brotherhood channel, Raba’a. “We stopped allowing the Rabaa channel to air as we recognized it broadcasts materials that incite violence and hatred,” the Council said at the time. [Cairo Post, 5/13/2015]  

Also of Interest

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Four civilians killed in Sinai blast; Sinai State releases video threatening army
Four civilians inside a car were killed in a blast in North Sinai on Wednesday, a security source told Aswat Masriya. The blast was caused by an explosive device planted on the side of the road, the source said, adding that it was planted by members of the Sinai State (formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis),.  The source added that the device was planted with the purpose of targeting military vehicles, but it exploded when the private car hit it.  Meanwhile, sources told the state news agency MENA that four suspected militants were killed and twenty-three people were arrested in a campaign in the North Sinai cities of al-Arish, Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah. Two army officers and two conscripts also died on Wednesday afternoon while trying to defuse an improvised explosive device planted by unidentified assailants on the road army troops take to Rafah, North Sinai. This comes hours after Egypt’s defense and interior ministers toured North Sinai military and police sites. During the tour, Defense Minister Sedky Sobhy stressed the importance of continuously developing security strategies in the face of criminal operations. Meanwhile, the Sinai State released a video Tuesday threatening security personnel and army collaborators.  This comes hours after Egypt’s defense and interior ministers spoke of improving common strategies to fighting “criminal operations” in Sinai, during their visit to security sites in the peninsula. President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi  also addressed the issue in his monthly speech to the nation on Tuesday, praising the role of Sinai residents role in fighting “terrorism.” [DNE, Aswat Masriya, 5/13/2015]


UNESCO to launch heritage preservation campaign from Cairo
The chief of the UN’s education and culture agency launched a dramatic appeal in Cairo on Wednesday, saying that the destruction and looting of archaeological sites in the Middle East should be condemned as a “war crime.” UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova of Bulgaria also told the inaugural session of a conference that opened in Egypt that the theft and destruction of antiquities in the region was a tactic of war. The conference is being held in response to the destruction of ancient temples and artifacts in Iraq by the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) as well as the looting and smuggling of antiquities in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Libya. Bokova, who arrived in Cairo on Tuesday, will also take part in top-level meetings to discuss cooperation between the UN agency and Egypt. UNESCO will sponsor the launch of a campaign aimed at preserving heritage sites endangered by extremism on Wednesday. Bokova is launching the campaign #Unite4Heritage in cooperation with the Antiquities Ministry. The initiative has “the objective of mobilizing efforts to preserve threatened cultural heritage sites and stand against extremist activities,” according to the organization’s regional director, Gaith Fariz.[AP, Egypt Independent, 5/13/2015]

Minister says Ethiopian dam won’t be filled without prior consensus

The initial filling of Ethiopia’s controversial Grand Renaissance Dam will not take place without prior consensus from Egypt and Sudan, an official at Egypt’s Irrigation Ministry has said. Alaa Yassin, an adviser to Egypt’s Irrigation and Water Resources Ministry, was citing an agreement of principles signed by the three states in Addis Ababa last March. The agreement had set terms of common cooperation for an equitable distribution of Nile water and the means to benefit from the Ethiopian dam, which has been a source of tension between the downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan, and Ethiopia over the past five years. [Egypt independent, 5/13/2015]  

Also of Interest

  • France promises Egypt timely delivery of warship, Rafale jets | Ahram Online