The Egyptian Embassy in the United States has begun measures to establish the Tahya Masr (Long Live Egypt) Fund in the US following consultations with Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb during his visit to Washington last week, said Sharif Shawky, media adviser to the prime minister.
“The fund will serve as a charitable foundation that receives funds from the Egyptian community in the United States, also serving as a model for Egyptians in a number of other countries,” said Mehleb, who confirmed that he aims to circulate the idea of the fund in several other countries.
A statement made by Mehleb on Thursday confirmed the plan would be implemented over the coming weeks in coordination with the Egyptian Embassy in Washington and the Egyptian Consulate General in New York City.
This came on the sidelines of Mehleb’s visit to Washington to participate in the first US-Africa Summit. The purpose of the summit was to enhance trade cooperation between the US and Africa on major development projects.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi opened the Tahya Masr Fund under the account number 037037 – in a reference to the date he ousted former president Mohamed Morsi – immediately upon assuming the presidency. Its purpose is to receive donations from Egyptians at home and abroad.
“The idea of the fund receiving donations in order to rescue Egypt’s economy is okay, but the economy is not operating nor growing and these problems are not addressed through collecting donations,” said Fakhry Al-Fiki, former assistant executive director of the International Monetary Fund.
“The government must implement its economic and legislative reforms and create a suitable business environment for attracting investments,” he added, stressing that investment is the solution for unemployment, the budget deficit, and debt.
Al-Fiki praised the government’s efforts to revive international confidence in Egypt’s economy, but stressed the need for “integrated projects on the ground in order to take advantage of those actions, and achieve the growth that will generate jobs”.
A number of businessmen, banks, and private companies announced their intentions to donate to Tahya Masr, and recently published reports indicate that the fund has gathered approximately EGP 6.5bn since its inception.
A merger between the Tahya Masr Fund and the 306306 Fund founded was also announced after 30 June.
During the inauguration of the Suez Canal Development Project last week, Al-Sisi announced that he hopes to collect EGP 100bn from the fund in order to develop Egypt’s various governorates. The Field Marshall directed his speech toward citizens and businessmen, saying: “You’re going to pay means you’re going to pay.”
Egypt seeks to revitalise its economy, which has slowed under pressure of the insecurity and political and social unrest that has plagued the country since 2011. Fuel prices recently increased following a reduction in energy subsidies as well as the imposition of additional income taxes, as part of government efforts to increase financial resources and control both debt and the budget deficit.
Mehleb held consultations with major US companies working in Egypt during his recent visit to Washington. This included General Electric, which confirmed its support for Egypt’s economic reform programme and its intention to start new investments in the near future.