CAIRO: Egypt’s ruling party pledged in an election platform unveiled on Wednesday to achieve annual economic growth of at least 7 percent on average over the next five years.
The National Democratic Party election program, adopted ahead of the country’s Nov. 28 parliamentary vote, pledged "to achieve average growth of not less than 7 percent a year" during the next five-year parliamentary term.
Growth edged above 7 percent a year before the global financial crisis but then dipped back to around 5 percent.
The government forecasts the economy will grow by about 6 percent in the current financial year that began on July 1, while analysts polled by Reuters expect 5.5 percent.
Finance Minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali echoed the party’s program in comments to party members, saying: "We will be able to achieve in the next five years growth of 7 percent at least."
Ghali said this level of growth would create enough jobs to help cut Egypt’s unemployment rate, which he put at 9.5 percent.
The NDP’s policy committee, headed by President Hosni Mubarak’s politician son Gamal, met to present the program.
The ruling party, which has dominated Egyptian politics for decades, is expected to win a majority again in parliament. The opposition and rights groups complain of abuses during voting. Officials insist elections are fair.