Al-Sisi names terrorism, overpopulation as Egypt’s two biggest challenges

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President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi asserted on Monday that the two main challenges facing Egypt are terrorism and overpopulation, during discussions in the National Youth Conference in Alexandria.

Al-Sisi inaugurated on Monday the two-day 4th National Youth Conference in Alexandria, attended by 1,500 youth members from around Egypt, as well as government officials and public figures, according to a presidency statement.

“With my utmost belief in Egypt’s ambitious youth, and the state’s belief in the importance of dialogue and exchange of thoughts towards development, I announce the commencement of the 4th National Youth Conference,” Al-Sisi said.

During the discussions, Al-Sisi commented on the Minister of Education Tarek Shawki’s speech regarding developing education in Egypt, saying that the issue had a cultural background, as parents only reach out to their children to get certificates rather than quality education.

Participants of the National Youth Conference asserted to Al-Sisi that objectives and themes of the International Youth Conference, scheduled in November 2017, would add on Egypt’s role in spreading peace and eradicating illiteracy.

Among the conference attendees are also Speaker of Parliament Ali Abdul Aal, the Prime Minister (PM) Sherif Ismail, and several ministers and public figures.

Moreover, youth registered in the Presidential Leadership Programme (PLP) will also join the discussions as they will address officials regarding their challenges and the opportunities available and will introduce some plans and possible solutions to meet these challenges.

Al-Sisi is set to respond to several questions directed to him by citizens though the initiative titled “Ask the President”, launched since the 3rd National Youth Conference in April, according to state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram.

The Conference takes place every three month in accordance with Al-Sisi’s previous decision during its launch last October. The first conference was held in Sharm El-Sheikh in October, the second in Aswan in January, and the third in Ismaila in April.

Previous conferences also addressed current economic, social, and political issues, as well as the issue of the detained youth in political cases.

Several parliament members and political parties were invited to the conference to participate in its events, meanwhile some members of parliament (MPs) from the opposition reoirtedly were not invited. MP of Alexandria Haitham Al-Hariri said on Sunday in a statement that he was not invited to the conference.

As a member of the 25-30 Coalition, which often criticised the performance of the government, Al-Hariri directed several questions in his statement to Al-Sisi regarding the state’s policies towards the youth.

Several opposition political parties and figures, such as the Socialist Popular Alliance party Egyptian Popular Current party (EPCP), Al-Karama, and Al-Dostour, boycotted the 1st National Youth Conference in 2016, asserting that the aspiration of the youth to reach democracy and social justice was not on the state’s agenda.

The National Youth conference is organised to be considered as a communication point between the government and the youth from all around Egypt and different political parties to express their demands to government officials, according to the conference’s official Facebook fan page.

 

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