Developing nations must adapt to withstand global economic shocks, says Egypt’s PM Mostafa Madbouly

Madbouly said the solution to Egypt’s economic challenges lies in the promotion of ‘sustainable governance’ and ‘visionary and innovative’ policy approaches. (Supplied)
Madbouly said the solution to Egypt’s economic challenges lies in the promotion of ‘sustainable governance’ and ‘visionary and innovative’ policy approaches. (Supplied)
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Updated 12 February 2024
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Developing nations must adapt to withstand global economic shocks, says Egypt’s PM Mostafa Madbouly

Developing nations must adapt to withstand global economic shocks, says Egypt’s PM Mostafa Madbouly
  • Madbouly says Cairo is pursuing private sector investment, green transition, and policies ‘centered on human dignity’
  • At World Government Summit, Egyptian PM urges nations to adopt ‘visionary and innovative’ approaches to governance

DUBAI: Egypt is responding to recent global economic turmoil by encouraging private sector investment, exploring new technologies, prioritizing the green transition, and shaking up its governance model, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has said.

The Arab world’s most populous country, home to more than 110 million people, has been almost uniquely vulnerable to the economic headwinds of the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the Israel-Hamas conflict, and the pressures of climate change.

These combined blows have struck a nation already facing a foreign exchange crisis, historic inflation, sluggish non-oil exports and foreign direct investment, constrained private sector activity and job-creation, and rising government debt.

For Madbouly, the solution lies in the promotion of “sustainable governance” and policy approaches that are “visionary and innovative.”

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Government delegations attending summit.

“In Egypt we have been encouraging people to invest in the private sector, which can help create more jobs,” Madbouly, who has held the office of prime minister since 2018, told an audience at the World Government Summit in Dubai on Monday.

“Our new plans and their implementation has helped us push through the past four years till now,” he added, saying Egypt aims to achieve sustainable growth by 2030 by investing in its population — almost 30 percent of whom live below the national poverty line.

“We are educating our citizens and we have centered our policies on human dignity. Our plans so far have been recognized and received rather well by the UN.”

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund expect Egypt to face continued economic strain through 2024 before beginning to see improvement over the medium term — as long it sticks with current stabilization and structural reforms.

These reforms include implementing the IMF-brokered State Ownership Policy, fostering greater competition, strengthening governance and the rule of law, and improving the overall business environment to unleash the private sector’s full potential.

Egypt also aims to stabilize its economy by raising productivity and by diversifying its investments into different sectors, from high-tech industries like artificial intelligence to modern agricultural techniques, creating 7-8 million jobs in the process.

“Our focus on the growth of infrastructure and our political reforms will be attracting local foreign investments alike,” said Madbouly, who was previously Egypt’s minister of housing, utilities and urban communities.

One area the Egyptian government seems especially keen to develop is green energy.

Having hosted the UN Climate Change Conference, COP27, at the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh in 2022, Egypt is looking to lead the way in the adoption of green hydrogen and to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.

“We aim to cooperate and facilitate the establishment and production of green energy, especially green hydrogen, which we are hoping to become a regional central hub for by 2026 and a global hub by 2030,” Madbouly said.

Of course, Egypt is not alone in having to adjust to difficult economic realities, which are forcing governments across the developing world to break with old structural orthodoxies and embrace new approaches to governance.

“According to the World Bank, the problem with high interest rates will cause problems for developing nations,” said Madbouly.

“This is a result of political tensions that manifests into lack of cooperation between governments, which will end up causing a strain on some nations’ local currencies.”

He added: “That alone ought to motivate governments to think entirely differently in order to address these present problems.”

Madbouly urged governments in a similar predicament to Egypt to “develop sustainable governance and start to approach matters in visionary and innovative ways.”

 

 


Egypt, UN coordinator stress need for smooth aid delivery to Gaza

Egypt, UN coordinator stress need for smooth aid delivery to Gaza
Updated 8 sec ago
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Egypt, UN coordinator stress need for smooth aid delivery to Gaza

Egypt, UN coordinator stress need for smooth aid delivery to Gaza
  • Sameh Shoukry and Sigrid Kaag discussed the various facets of the humanitarian crisis in the besieged territory
  • Kaag said she appreciated the pivotal role played by Egypt in containing the humanitarian repercussions of the crisis

CAIRO: Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and the UN’s coordinator for the Gaza Strip Sigrid Kaag on Tuesday discussed the various facets of the humanitarian crisis in the besieged territory, the volume and quality of aid entering it and the priorities regarding the type of aid.

The meeting took place at the Foreign Ministry’s headquarters in Cairo where the two sides reviewed the ongoing endeavors with various parties to expedite the launch of the UN mechanism as soon as possible.

They affirmed the inevitability of intensifying the volume of aid to meet the needs of the Palestinian people as well as providing the necessary protection for international relief personnel present in the Strip.

Shoukry reaffirmed the legal and humanitarian responsibility incumbent upon international parties to ensure the implementation of the provisions of Security Council Resolution 2720 and all other UN resolutions relevant to the situation in Gaza.

He stressed the necessity of dealing seriously and urgently with the humanitarian crisis in Gaza by reaching an immediate and permanent ceasefire, as well as sustaining aid access in a full, safe and intensive manner to all areas, the removal of impediments imposed by Israel in this regard and the opening of all land crossings to increase the flow of aid.

Kaag affirmed her keenness to continue coordination and consultation with Egypt to carry out her duties. She said she appreciated the pivotal role played by Egypt in containing the humanitarian repercussions of the crisis as well as the existing cooperation between the Egyptian Red Crescent, Egyptian civil society organizations and UN relief agencies to deliver aid.


Arab League condemns surge in West Bank settler attacks

Arab League condemns surge in West Bank settler attacks
Updated 20 min 59 sec ago
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Arab League condemns surge in West Bank settler attacks

Arab League condemns surge in West Bank settler attacks
  • Gamal Roshdy: Incidents of violent crimes, arson and property destruction perpetrated by armed settlers have seen a noticeable surge
  • Tensions in the West Bank have been especially high since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip on Oct. 7

CAIRO: The Arab League on Tuesday strongly denounced relentless attacks carried out by Israeli settlers on Palestinian cities and towns across the West Bank.

“These attacks, often perpetrated under the tacit approval and protection of Israeli authorities, are exacerbating a pervasive state of impunity and continued oppression of Palestinian lives and properties,” the league said in a statement.

Gamal Roshdy, the secretary-general’s spokesperson, said that while daily atrocities committed by Israeli forces in Gaza demand attention, they must not overshadow the escalating violence in the West Bank.

He added: “Incidents of violent crimes, arson and property destruction perpetrated by armed settlers have seen a noticeable surge, facilitated by a settler-led government that shields them from accountability.”

Roshdy warned that the imposition of sanctions by some countries on settlers, though a belated gesture, falls short of addressing the escalating crisis and safeguarding Palestinian civilians in the West Bank.

He called for action from the UN Security Council to end the “shameful cycle and the culture of impunity prevailing in the West Bank,” and to “hold these settlers accountable for their reprehensible crimes against the Palestinian people.”

Tensions in the West Bank have been especially high since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip on Oct. 7.

On Friday, dozens of Israeli settlers stormed a Palestinian village in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, shooting at and burning houses and cars.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry has strongly condemned the settler violations and crimes against Palestinians across the West Bank.


King Abdullah II: Jordan won’t become ‘theatre of war’ between Israel and Iran

King Abdullah II: Jordan won’t become ‘theatre of war’ between Israel and Iran
Updated 44 min 14 sec ago
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King Abdullah II: Jordan won’t become ‘theatre of war’ between Israel and Iran

King Abdullah II: Jordan won’t become ‘theatre of war’ between Israel and Iran
  • King of Jordan reinforced the nation's commitment to upholding its security and sovereignty
  • He said Jordan's aim was to safeguard its own sovereignty rather than defend Israel

DUBAI: Jordanian King Abdullah II said Tuesday that his country must not become ‘the theatre of a regional war’ after Jordan intercepted multiple missiles and drones when Iran attacked Israel at the weekend. 

The king reinforced the nation's commitment to upholding its security and sovereignty above all other considerations. He stressed Jordan's aim was to safeguard its own sovereignty rather than defend Israel.

Last weekend, Jordan was among a group of nations that helped Israel shoot down missiles, rockets and attack drones launched by Iran and its allies at Israel.

Earlier on Tuesday, Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said the international community should stop Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from "stealing" attention away from Gaza by escalating his confrontation with Iran.

In remarks during a press conference with his German counterpart in Berlin, Safadi said Iran had responded to the attack against its consulate and had announced that it did "did not want to escalate further".

"We are against escalating. Netanyahu wants to draw attention away from Gaza and focus on his confrontation with Iran," Safadi added.

Iran's weekend attack caused modest damage in Israel and wounded a 7-year-old girl. Most missiles and drones were shot down by Israel's Iron Dome defence system and with help from the US, Britain, France and Jordan.

Iran -- which labelled its attack an act of self-defence after a deadly Israeli strike on its Syria consulate -- warned Jordan it could be “the next target”, a military source was reported as saying by Iran's Fars news agency. 

(with agencies)


Israel’s old Lebanese allies grapple with new Hezbollah threat

Israel’s old Lebanese allies grapple with new Hezbollah threat
Updated 16 April 2024
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Israel’s old Lebanese allies grapple with new Hezbollah threat

Israel’s old Lebanese allies grapple with new Hezbollah threat
  • The South Lebanon Army was a mostly Christian militia recruited by Israel when it occupied south Lebanon in the 1980s and 1990s

The looming threat of a war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon is reviving painful memories for former Lebanese militiamen and their families who fled to Israel, their erstwhile ally, more than 20 years ago.
The South Lebanon Army was a mostly Christian militia recruited by Israel when it occupied south Lebanon in the 1980s and 1990s.
The Zadalnikim, as the SLA’s former members are known in Israel from the group’s Hebrew acronym, sought shelter south of the border in the aftermath of Israel’s sudden withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, fearing reprisals from Hezbollah, whom they had fought for years in a brutal and uncompromising conflict.
Iran-backed Hezbollah — a Hamas ally with a large arsenal of rockets and missiles — has exchanged fire with Israeli forces almost daily since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7 triggering war in Gaza.
In response, Israel has carried out strikes deeper and deeper into Lebanese territory, targeting several Hezbollah commanders.
A strip several kilometers (miles) wide on either side of the border has become a de facto war zone, emptied of its tens of thousands of civilian residents.
“They told us to prepare for two weeks in a hotel in Tiberias” in northern Israel, said Claude Ibrahim, one of Israel’s more prominent Lebanese collaborators.
“It’s already been six months. I hope it won’t last 24 years,” he told AFP, referring to his exile from Lebanon.


Ibrahim, a former right-hand man of the late SLA commander Antoine Lahad, was evacuated from the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona, near the Lebanese border, in October when the entire city was emptied.
“It’s as if history repeated itself... generation after generation,” he said, referring to how the Zadalnikim had to flee their homeland after years spent moving from village to village during the Lebanese civil war of the 1970s and 1980s.
Of the 6,000 to 7,000 Lebanese who fled to Israel in May 2000, around 3,500 still live in Israel, according to the authorities. They are registered with the interior ministry as “Lebanese of Israel” and were granted citizenship in 2004.
Shortly after their arrival in Israel — where authorities only partly took responsibility for them — many moved on to Sweden, Germany or Canada. Others returned to Lebanon, where they were tried for collaboration with Israel.
All former SLA members in Israel have relatives in Lebanon, mostly in villages in the south, a few kilometers (miles) from the Israeli border.
Few agreed to be interviewed out of fear of reprisals against their families in Lebanon, whom they stay in touch with via third parties for the same reason.
Maryam Younnes, a 28-year-old communications student at Bar-Ilan University near Tel Aviv, was five when she arrived in Israel with her parents.


When her father, a former SLA officer, died a decade ago, they were able to bury him in their ancestral village of Debel, roughly 10 kilometers (six miles) as the crow flies from Ma’alot-Tarshiha, the northern Israeli town they moved to.
The rest of their family remained in Lebanon, in Debel and the capital Beirut.
With fears growing that the near-daily exchanges of fire across the border might escalate into a full-scale war, Younnes was worried about her relatives.
“I’m very concerned for my family, for my village (in Lebanon),” said Younnes, who sees herself as “half Lebanese, half Israeli.”
“I hope that there will be a way to protect them,” she said, if there is an all-out war with Hezbollah.
Ibrahim was equally worried, although he voiced hope that a new conflict with Israel would “finish off” his old enemy Hezbollah.
“The only solution is a big strike on Hezbollah so that it understands that there is no way forward but through peace,” he said.
Ibrahim said there was no reason Israel and Lebanon should not be at peace.
But Asher Kaufman, a history professor at Notre Dame University in Indiana who specializes in Lebanon and the wider Middle East, said attitudes in Israel had shifted significantly in the decades since the civil war and the cooperation between Lebanese Christian militias and the Israeli military.
The vision of an alliance between “Lebanese Christians and the Israelis, which was at the root of the 1982 invasion (of Lebanon by Israel) has completely collapsed.”
Israel has stopped “viewing Lebanon as the Switzerland of the Middle East,” a peaceful and prosperous country, and now sees it as “a violent quagmire it wants nothing to do with.”


Israeli forces must halt ‘active participation’ in settler attacks on Palestinians: UN

Israeli forces must halt ‘active participation’ in settler attacks on Palestinians: UN
Updated 16 April 2024
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Israeli forces must halt ‘active participation’ in settler attacks on Palestinians: UN

Israeli forces must halt ‘active participation’ in settler attacks on Palestinians: UN
  • Israel is still imposing “unlawful” restrictions on humanitarian relief for Gaz

Geneva: The UN voiced grave concern Tuesday over escalating violence in the West Bank, demanding that Israeli security forces “immediately end their active participation in and support for settler attacks” on Palestinians there.
“Israeli authorities must instead prevent further attacks, including by bringing those responsible to account,” Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the United Nations rights office, told reporters in Geneva.
Israel is still imposing “unlawful” restrictions on humanitarian relief for Gaza, the UN rights office said on Tuesday. “Israel continues to impose unlawful restrictions on the entry and distribution of humanitarian assistance, and to carry out widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure,” said Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN human rights office, at a press briefing in Geneva.

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