Egyptian president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, has told international investors the country will create a model for Arab and Islamic society and will stand up to terrorists in the region.
Speaking at the inaugural Egypt Economic Development Conference (EEDC), an economic event in the resort of Sharm El-Sheikh designed to bring money into the country, he detailed the reforms that his new government has already begun.
He called the country the "new Egypt" and said it will be a model democratic society. He highlighted that his economic plans will seek to address issues of social justice employment, opportunities to the youth and stability to the region.
"(It will be a) balanced development that is fair and just," he said.
The EEDC this weekend is an attempt to put Egypt back on the world map for investors and trumpet the reforms that have coincided with improving economic data. Development of the Suez Canal and a new administrative city on the outskirts of Cairo are just two of the focal points for the event.
The event at Sharm El-Sheikhalso comes just days after the announcement of a cut to Egypt's top tax rate. The EEDC is being billed as a key milestone for the government's medium-term economic development plan and will feature names such as Mohamed El-Erian, the chief economic advisor at Allianz. Bob Dudley,the group chief executive of BP, will also be attending after the oil major announced a $12 billion investment in the country.
However, the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP), a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization, has already warned that the EEDC seems "increasingly disconnected from reality."
"(It) may run the risk to simply disappoint, even if it is deemed successful by any reasonable standards," Mohamed El Dahshan, a senior cooperation officer at the African Development Bank, said in a blog post on the Institute's website Friday.
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Egypt, a country of 90 million, has seen a tumultuous four years. In 2011, the country was plunged into mayhem during the Arab Spring uprising in the region which saw former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ousted from power. Mubarak was replaced by Mohamed Morsi, a leading member of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood organization.
Morsi was later ousted by the Egyptian military in 2013 as more secular Egyptians complained increasingly about Morsi's perceived restrictive and religious policies. Al-Sisi was the former head of Egypt's armed forces at the time and was an instrumental figure in the government that took over power. In June 2014, he won the subsequent presidential election.
In a wide-ranging speech, the President thanked his fellow Arab nations and praised the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. He went on to denounce all terrorism, and reinforced his view that Egypt should defend its neighbors and respect all parties.
"(Egypt) defends and does not attack," he said, addressing the audience with 1,700 delegates expected at the event.