Sisi calls for Africa’s infrastructure development programme at World Youth Forum
18:00 Ahram Online was concluding its live updates here. World Youth Forum will continue today, and close on Tuesday. 15:45 A session on rebuilding post-conflict societies and states was also taken place; speakers include Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, UN Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura, and UN Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salamé.
Speaking about the Syrian crisis, De Mistura said “there is a proxy war in Syria with five countries militarily involved, in addition to ISIS; this contributed to a complex situation in the country making terrorism the most beneficial party from this situation.”
“It is very easy to start a war but very hard difficult to achieve peace,” he commented.
Shoukry identified terrorism as a core characteristic of conflicts in the region, stressing the need to fully eliminate this phenomenon.
The Egyptian foreign minister said his country’s foreign policy is based on non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states, but it cooperates with the UN in the context of international law to seek lasting settlements to conflicts in the region.
“Egypt strongly believes in strengthening state institutions to resolve the conflicts facing the region,” Shoukry added.
Salamé affirmed that the United Nations mission in Libya is working on freeing the country’s national institutions from the control of armed groups, and on restructuring the police.
“We are gradually moving toward empowering Libyan uniformed services to maintain security, but this might need more time,” he said.
“The upcoming hours will see resignations and assigning new names to some Libyan national sovereign institutes,” he announced.
In light of the restructuring of the Libyan police, after they were controlled for several years by armed groups, Salamé said that a new security committee involving police officers who were not members of armed groups is to be formed, and police officers and personnel are to be retrained.
14:30 At the end of the panel on the African Union’s 2063 agenda, Sisi commented on officials talks highlighting the challenges facing the African country, importance of women, issue of refugees among other issues.
“Here in Egypt we have special care programmes for women; they constitute 50 percent of the community and we are keen to integrate them within Egyptian society,” he said.
Speaking of the challenges in Africa, Sisi commented: “Africa faces very large challenges,” but that it is rich with resources, although they are mismanaged.
“We must highlight all the challenges and determine our priorities to be able to attain development,” said the president, stressing the importance of security and stability, which he said must be achieved first.
“This has been the political path that Egypt has been following to calm the situation in Africa, such as the efforts exerted in South Sudan, but without interference in the country’s affairs.”
He also hailed all developmental efforts that have been implemented in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and Somalia.
“We shall not only work on security and stability but also on the impression we leave as Africans on European countries,” he said.
Sisi said Egypt has pressed on with national development plans in parallel with efforts to restore stability in the country.
Bringing safety and stability to Africa is key to developing the continent, he said, stressing the need for a comprehensive infrastructure development programme in all African countries.
“It is worth mentioning that infrastructure projects in Egypt have helped us provide job opportunities for almost 5 million Egyptian citizens,” said El-Sisi.
He called for developing an effective system of governance to fight corruption in African countries, saying that the continent is notorious for insufficient anti-corruption measures.
He added that digitalisation and building efficient databases in African countries is another key measure on the path to development.
Sisi also spoke about the fact that Egypt has refused to build refugee camps, to allow all other nationalities be merged within the Egyptian.
14:00 The President of the African Export – Import Bank (Afreximbank) Benedict Okey Oramah speaks about the importance of youth to the future of Africa, as they make up 68 percent of the population.
13:30 Speaking at the session on “2063 Agenda: Africa that we want”, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry affirmed that the agenda aims at eliminating poverty and achieving the development, security and prosperity of the African continent.
The African Union’s 2063 Agenda is “a strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years” according to the African Union’s website.
The agenda is not only limited to empowering the youth of the continent but also to teaching them to bear responsibility, Shoukry says.
He also urges the activation of the African Free Trade Agreement to maximise the benefit from the continent’s resources.
“We consider the importance given by Sisi in the G20 meetings in Berlin to developing the infrastructure of the continent and we have ambitious projects in this regard like the railway link project between Djibouti and Senegal, as well the electricity power link project,” the minister said.
“In Egypt we have achieved we have achieved the level of exporting electricity in addition to entering the nuclear power era,” he added.
13:10 In parallel to the first session on the role of world leaders in building and sustaining peace, another session was taking place, on the role of social media and the digital world’s impact on the real world.
The panellists included Egypt’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat, as well as American digital analyst and author Brian Solis, American activist Timmy Sullivan, and French humanitarian and influencer Jerome Jarre.
Talaat spoke about the need to put in laws in place that would protect people while they experience their cyber-lives. The minister also spoke about digital literacy in Egypt.
“Going to the people in the rural areas where most people are not literate but can use digital devices shows that they have seen the value in digital literacy in life currently” he commented.
Digital analyst and author Brian Solis spoke about how the public exchanged creativity for vanity.
“We think getting more likes is better than creating something that will change the world,” he commented.
French humanitarian and influencer Jerome Jarre said that the public did not fully understand the power of social media, while US activist Timmy Sullivan spoke on how the digital world was parallel to the real world but also a much integrated world.
13:00 The second panel Agenda 2063: The Africa we want has started; nine officials are participating, including Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.
12:30 Tegegnework Gettu, under secretary-general of the UN and associate administrator of UNDP tells attendees that “we need to address the root cause of conflicts. In conclusion, peace cannot have a fragmented approach, it must be complex and multilateral.”
At the end of the panel discussion, Sisi commented that establishing and maintaining peace is related to the vision of the political leaders of each country.
He cited Egyptian president Anwar Sadat’s vision as the Egyptian model.
“Sadat’s vision on peace was a unilateral action which was implemented more than fifty years ago,” he said, adding that although the late president’s vision for peace could have been rejected by other countries in the region it was not.
“The price of this experience I would not say was his assassination, but the great effort Sadat exerted to maintain peace,” he said.
He has also commented on the terrorist attack by armed gunmen on a bus carrying Egyptian Christians on Friday, which left seven Copts dead and dozens injured.
“We in Egypt don’t discriminate, we don’t say this is Muslim and this is Christian; we say we are Egyptians.”
He added that the terrorist attack is an act which has saddened the hearts of all Egyptians.
He said that Egypt has recently passed a long-awaited law regulating the building of religious buildings, especially churches.
“The country has been concerned with the building of churches in new cities as well as in old ones, and even for other religions, for Jewish citizens,” he said.
“A citizen who worships or even one who does not worship; everyone is free and the state should not interfere in this,” he added.
The Egyptian president has also highlighted the importance of correcting religious discourse, which he said is one of the most important demands of Egypt and the world.
11:45 Majdouline Cherni, the Tunisian minister of youth and sports affairs, shares her country’s experience in maintaining peace, and stressed that “hope and trust helps humanity in the dream of establishing and maintaining peace.”
“The legacy of a culture of peace is not a final structure but rather a dynamic one, in which institutions of civil society needs to work on,” says Cherni.
Kazakhstan’s Deputy Minister of Social Development Birkik Arian notes that “the goal of peace is to ensure prosperity in the 21st century for all humans, who aspire to peaceful settlement of disputes.”
The deputy minister explains that his country has just launched a new initiative to promote peace through dialogue and harmony within society, despite ideological and cultural differences. Kazakhstan also held a conference on different religions last year. The Rwandan minister Rosemary Mbabazi stresses that establishing peace requires young people.
“Establishing peace is a great means to the establishment of nations but this will not be complete without the integration of the youth.”
11:30 During the panel, Sheikh Al-Khalifa highlighted three elements of youth ideology to maintain peace and fight extremism: “Security, the national story, and establishing credible hope.”
He explained that each nation should focus on the security of its country from all kinds of threats that have been “penetrating our homes through new technologies.”
He also said each nation should have its own “national story”, with its own national projects, which would serve the needs of its people.
Commenting on Al-Khalifa’s second idea, Sisi said Egypt’s “national story” is concerned with establishing peace within the society.
“Establishing societal peace allows the nation to avoid possible conflicts,” said Sisi.
11:00 There have been six speakers at this first session.
First, Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, a member of the Bahraini royal family, the commander of Bahrain’s Royal Guard, and president of the Bahrain Olympic Committee.
The second was Tunisian Minister of Youth and Sports Affairs Majdouline Cherni.
The third was Kazakhstan’s Deputy Minister of Social Development Birkik Arian.
The fourth was Rwanda’s Minister of Youth Rosemary Mbabazi.
The fifth was United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Associate Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme Tegegnework Gettu.
The sixth speaker was Ahmad Alhendawi, the secretary-general of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, and a Jordanian national.
During the one-hour panel, all six speakers were asked to give examples from their countries on means to establish, enhance and maintain peace, as well as their recommendations.
10:40 The first session, on the role of world leaders in building and sustaining peace, has started, with speakers from Tunisia, Rwanda, Bahrain, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan.
10:15 This morning, President Sisi, along with around 5,000 young people from all over the world, have arrived to attend the first day of events. The first session will be titled “The role of world leaders in building and sustaining peace.”
Today’s agenda also includes sessions entitled “Agenda 2063: the Africa we want”, “E-sports and games”, and “Euro-Mediterranean co-operation: a strategic partnership”, among others.
10:00 Welcome to Ahram Online’s live updates for the first day of events at the Second World Youth Forum in Sharm El-Sheikh.
Yesterday saw the inauguration of the event by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, under whose auspices the forum is taking place. The president inaugurated the forum “in the name of humanity, and to a world full of hope and peace.”
There were also speeches from a number of young leaders, including Yazidi human rights activist Nadia Murad and Nelson Mandela’s grandson Zondwa Mandela.
This year, the forum’s events will revolve around a vision inspired by The Seven Pillars of the Egyptian Identity, a book by Milad Hanna written for the purpose of emphasising the unity and harmony of Egyptian society despite divergences and differences, according to the official website of the forum.
This year’s event runs until Tuesday.
The first World Youth Forum took place last year, also in Sharm El-Sheikh.
Source: Ahram Online