Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attended Saturday the celebration of National Youth Day at the Cairo Opera House, where he promised great financial and educational opportunities for Egypt’s youth.
During the event, al-Sisi launched the “Bank of Knowledge,” a project that aims to gather the largest international encyclopedias, research papers, theses, books and articles in one website.
“Today, I decree the year 2016 the Year of Youth,” Al-Sisi began his speech, surrounded by youth who have excelled in their respective professions, as well as athletes and disabled people who achieved career and sports success, a young policeman and an army officer.
Al-Sisi said he informed the Central Bank of Egypt to facilitate financial loans to youth starting their own small and medium sized businesses. He added that youth will receive 20 percent of all loans given out in the next four years, an estimated total of LE200 billion.
The president added that such loans could benefit up to 350,000 youth-run companies, which would provide jobs to over four million employees.
He added that the interest on these loans to small and medium companies would be five percent annually.
“You don’t have any excuse now,” Al-Sisi said jokingly, addressing the youth, and stating that loan interest was the biggest obstacle facing youth.
“I wish [the loan interest] would be even lower than five percent,” the president added, saying the loans would be especially given to youth in Upper Egypt and border-lying areas.
Education and sports
The president added that he ordered the formation a national committee to draw a development plan to enhance school curricula at all educational levels within three months.
The committee aims to “raise education in Egypt to international standards,” according to the president.
Al-Sisi also promised that sports in schools and universities would be developed, with prizes established as an incentive for students.
“We will have a big leap in sports in Egypt,” Al-Sisi promised.
Al-Sisi addressed youth saying, “The nation is facing, along with you, a battle for existence, which needs a true solid will against what is being woven against it.”
“Every father wants his children to be better than him. I wish all the youth of Egypt be the most developed and skilled in the world,” Al-Sisi stated.
He added that the youth will take on the responsibility of a nation with 90 million people who should be living in peace and security, and that this will only be fulfilled if the youth are fully conscious.
“I don’t want you to be on my side,” Al-Sisi stated. “I want you to be on Egypt’s side, protect it and care for it.“