President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi spoke of the challenges of fighting terrorism and encouraging investment at the launch of one of the first projects in the new Suez Canal industrial zone on Saturday.
The project, one of a number of initiatives spearheaded by the president as part of the development of an international trade hub, aims to build a sea port in the eastern section of the Suez Canal governorate in Port Said.
Egypt completed work on a new 35-kilometer extension to the Suez Canal in August, as a basis for attracting investment.
Sisi claimed several “low profile” projects such as the sea port, which he said the public are not fully aware of, are significant counterterrorism strategies, as terrorism “aims to hamper Egypt’s growth.”
They “don’t want to build or allow anyone else to build,” he said. “They only know how to destroy.”
Sisi maintained he doesn’t usually discuss such projects, “because of evil and its people,” but urged Egypt’s media to cover these initiatives and those working on them.
Referring specifically to the Suez Canal project, Sisi said it could’ve taken 10–15 years to complete.
“I challenge anyone to do what we do in 10 years … and I know what I’m saying very well,” a defiant Sisi proclaimed.
The president also named other challenges the country faces, including corruption and economic instability, but reminded his audience, “We agreed we would all take care of Egypt, not just me. I can’t do it alone.”
Sisi said he warned people of the dangers of terrorism over two years ago, but his warning fell on deaf ears.
“Look at the state of the world now, everyone is suffering and paying for not seriously confronting terrorism,” he said, before adding that the world finally got the message and is starting to face the problem.
Sisi urged businessmen to invest in Egypt despite these challenges, dismissing any threats.
“Why are you skeptical? Anything you hear isn’t accurate and is aimed at hindering you from participating in the development of Egypt,” he claimed.
“What are you scared of?” Sisi asked. No one is above the law and the upcoming parliament will “hold us all accountable.”