Fouly CAIRO Egypt (Xinhua) --
As the New Year 2019 is approaching, Egypt sees evident
improvement in the country’s security and economic
conditions after years of turmoil and recession
following two popular uprisings that toppled two heads
of state in 2011 and 2013.
The Egyptian army
and police have been launching security campaigns
against terrorists in the restive northern part of the
Sinai Peninsula and other regions nationwide, while the
government has been adopting a strict three-year
economic reform plan that has put the country’s economy
back on track.
On Sunday, the Egyptian police announced the killing
of 14 terrorists in Arish city of North Sinai province
northeastern the country.
The operation is part of an anti-terror war declared
by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the army
chief then, following the popular-backed military ouster
of former Muslim Brotherhood-oriented President Mohamed
Morsi in early July 2013.
Most of the terror attacks in Egypt in the past few
years were claimed by a Sinai-based group loyal to the
Islamic State (IS) regional terrorist group.
An IS-claimed Russian plane crash in Sinai killed
over 200 Russians in October, 2015 and a tragic fall of
an EgyptAir flight in May, 2016 killed all 66 people
onboard including 15 French.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian army and police killed
hundreds of terrorists and arrested thousands of
suspects during the country’s anti-terror war declared
following Morsi’s ouster.
As a result, the situation has become different now,
for security conditions have significantly improved and
the recurrence of terrorist attacks has greatly declined
whether in Sinai, the capital Cairo or other provinces
across the country.
Egypt has also been working hard on improving airport
security, gradually leading several states to resume
direct flights with Cairo after years of suspension over
Moscow has already resumed direct flights to Cairo in
April while flights to other Egyptian cities, including
the popular Red Sea resorts of Sharm El-Sheikh and
Hurghada, will be resumed "soon," according to Russian
President Vladimir Putin following talks with his
Egyptian counterpart Sisi in Russia’s Sochi in October.
Earlier in December, the United States decided to
resume commercial flights with Egypt starting from
The decision came more than three years after
Washington suspended cargo flights coming from Egypt in
November 2015, a few days after the deadly Russian plane
The declining terrorist activities, the tight
security measures and the resumption of some foreign
flights reflect the progress of security conditions in
the most populous Arab state, which in turn has given a
push to the tourism sector that has been ailing for
years over security issues.
In the first half of 2018, about 5 million tourists
visited the monument-rich country, compared to 8.3
million in the whole year of 2017 and 5.3 million
tourists in 2016.
In late 2016, the Egyptian government started to
liberalize the exchange rate of its local currency, the
Egyptian pound, to contain shortage of U.S. dollars as
an initial step of an economic reform program based on
strict austerity measures, tax hikes and subsidy cuts.
Egypt’s reform plan is encouraged by the
International Monetary Fund (IMF), which offered the
Arab country a 12-billion-dollar loan to support the
reform, two-thirds of which has already been delivered.
Egypt expects a tranche of 2 billion dollars from the
IMF loan within weeks.
Despite the consequent price hikes and inflation
rise, world financial institutions and research centers
commended Egypt’s reform steps and expected fruitful
results in the near future.
A report released in early May by the Center for
International Development (CID) at Harvard University
ranked Egypt as the world’s third fastest growing
economy in the coming decade after India and Uganda.
Egypt achieved a high growth of 5.3 percent in the
2017-18 fiscal year.
The IMF report even expected Egypt’s growth to
further accelerate to reach 5.5 percent in the ongoing
2018-19 fiscal year.
Egypt’s fiscal year runs from beginning of July to
end of June.
In September, IMF managing director Christine Lagarde
said following a meeting with Sisi in New York that the
Egyptian economy is showing "strong signs of recovery"
and that the country’s economic growth is among the
highest in the Middle East.
Lagarde underscored the importance of Egypt’s
structural reforms to achieve more sustainable growth.
"These reforms will help achieve more sustainable,
inclusive and private-sector led growth which will help
create jobs for Egypt’s young population, while also
ensuring adequate resources are available for social
protection," she added.
In October, the World Bank agreed a 3-billion-dollar
financing deal with Egypt, whose investment ministry
said would help secure economic growth.
Last week, the Egyptian president met in Vienna with
World Bank chief Kristalina Georgieva, who highlighted
the "positive results" of the economic reform measures
implemented by the Egyptian government, including
macroeconomic stability, rising growth rates and
declining budget deficit.
The World Bank currently has 16 projects in Egypt
worth 6.69 billion dollars in total, which reflects
confidence of the world’s top financial institution in
the future of the Egyptian economy.
Egypt’s economic improvement is seen in the mega
projects being carried out in the country, whether in
the fields of infrastructure, industry or energy,
involving big world companies.
Germany’s Siemens and its consortium partners, the
two Egyptian giants Orascom Construction and Elsewedy
Electric, celebrated in July the completion of the
combined cycle power plants in Egypt.
The three stations, located in the under-construction
administrative capital city eastern Cairo and the two
provinces of Beni Suef and Kafr el-Sheikh, will add a
total of 14.4 gigawatts of power generation capacity to
Egypt’s national grid, which is enough power to supply
up to 40 million people with reliable electricity.
Likewise, Chinese large corporations are currently
working on a number of energy mega projects in Egypt,
including Sinohydro, Dongfang Electric, Shanghai
Electric, State Grid Corporation of China, Huawei and
Dongfang Electric and Shanghai Electric corporations
are building a coal-fired power plant in Hamrawein
region on the Red Sea coast with a total generating
capacity of 6,000 megawatts.
The plant, which will be constructed in six years, is
expected to be the largest of its kind in the Middle
"We’re also working with China’s Sinohydro on the
construction of a major pumped-storage hydropower plant
in Mount Ataka in Suez province northeastern Egypt with
a capacity of 2,400 megawatts, besides our cooperation
with State Grid Corporation of China and Huawei,"
Mohamed Mousa, a senior undersecretary at Egypt’s
Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy, told
Xinhua in November.
In the field of industry, Chinese industrial
developer Tianjin Economic-Technological Development
Area (TEDA) is currently developing a total area of 7.23
square km in Egypt’s Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone)
in Ain Sokhna district of Suez province east of Cairo.
TEDA attracted many enterprises to the SCZone,
including China’s fiberglass giant manufacturer Jushi,
which helped Egypt become one of the largest fiberglass
producers and exporters in the world over the past
couple of years.
Egypt’s economic progress is also reflected in the
annual rise of the country’s non-oil exports, which hit
about 18.58 billion dollars from January to October 2018
compared to 17.4 billion dollars in the same period last
year, marking a 6.7-percent increase.