It has been two years since Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi was elected president by Egyptians who regaled him as a “hero” after his successful ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi. In his presidential campaign, Al-Sisi made several promises such as mega projects in various fields to further development in Egypt. Many of these promises have been fulfilled, some of them partially, while other promises remain by the wayside.
Egyptians are satisfied with Al-Sisi’s performance
The Egyptian Centre for Public Opinion Research (Baseera) recently conducted a poll to measure how satisfied the public is with Al-Sisi’ performance. The results indicated that in just one month, his approval rating has risen to 91% compared to 79% in May. In June 2015, his approval rating was 90%.
The poll showed that only 7% are dissatisfied with Al-Sisi’s performance, as opposed to 13% last month. 2% of poll respondents were undecided, compared to 8% last month.
In this informative report, Daily News Egypt is highlighting the most prominent actions promised by Al-Sisi and how these vows have panned out two years on.
Promises not yet executed
Establishing 33 governorates
In a televised interview during his campaign, Al-Sisi promised to prepare a plan to change the administrative division of governorates so that each governorate would be supported by desert space for future expansion as well as a water network. The plan targeted to increase the number of governorates to 33, so as to better distribute the population across these governorates.
The president also promised to establish 22 industrial cities and reopen factories whose operations were suspended. Neither of these promises has come close to fruition.
Al-Sisi promised to launch 26 touristic cities and eight new airports but these projects have not been realised after a number of incidents that have damaged the tourism sector even further after the two uprisings. The first was the Russian plane crash in Sinai, followed by security personnel mistakenly killing Mexicans tourists, then the murder of the Italian researcher Giulio Regeni, and finally the most recent aviation incident when EgyptAir MS804 crashed into the Mediterranean Sea while en route to Cairo.
High prices remain uncontrolled
Al-Sisi reluctantly promised in several televised interviews to adjust the price of commodities and basic goods. In a meeting with journalists Lamis Hadidi and Ibrahim Eissa during his campaign, he promised to implement parallel mechanisms to provide products and commodities to adjust the Egyptian market by providing vehicles to transport and sell meat products at lower prices, in addition to promising to control prices in the private market. Instead, prices continued to spiral upwards and several subsidized items, such as rice and oil, are missing from supermarket shelves. Amnesty for detainees
Al-Sisi promised in more than one speech to release those detained on charges contradictory to freedom of opinion and expression and to pardon them. Contrary to these statements, once president, Al-Sisi’s National Security apparatus saw that protests on 15 and 25 April were met with hundreds of arrests and many young people now residing in pre-trial detention.
Four cities for disabled citizens
At a regional event for the Special Olympics, Al-Sisi promised to establish four integrated cities specialised for people with disabilities in the governorates of Qena and Alexandria, Ismailia, and Cairo. These cities were to be financed by the Taheya Misr fund and would include clubs, schools, housing units, and hospitals. As it stands now, the foundations for these cities have not yet been laid.
Freedom of the press
Al-Sisi promised to develop a number of laws to ensure freedom of expression and freedom of the press. Until now, only one law has been issued to organise the work of media outlets which the government ratified but has not yet activated.
A comprehensive health insurance system
The president promised in several televised interviews to provide a comprehensive health insurance system for all citizens and to approve this system once the parliament approved it. So far no health insurance system or draft has surfaced.
Promises that were fulfilled
Nonetheless, Al-Sisi’s achievements over the past two years cannot be disregarded. The president is indeed carrying out some of his promises, at the top of which is rebuilding state institutions and developing several sectors, including infrastructure.
Reforming state institutions
As part of his promise to reshape state institutions, the president completed the “political roadmap” laid out for him by launching parliamentary elections and ensuring that there is a House of Representatives in Egypt to supervise and monitor the cabinet’s performance.
Massive projects to enhance the economy
Regarding the economic sector, Al-Sisi succeeded in somewhat bolstering Egypt’s economy and encouraging investments by launching several mega projects, at the top of which is the Suez Canal Development Project and construction of the New Administrative Capital.
Giant projects in Sinai
In the same context, the presidency has paid great attention to achieving development in the Sinai Peninsula by launching several projects in agricultural and hydraulically-oriented fields.
These projects were carried out in two stages. The first was establishing El-Salam channel, or waterway, and the 220,000-acre land reclamation project south of the Suez Canal where 180,000 acres are currently being cultivated.
The second stage saw the establishment of Sheikh Gaber Al-Sobah channel and a 400,000-acre land reclamation project east of the Suez Canal.
Opening Egypt to the world
The Egyptian government has succeeded in ameliorating its foreign relations with a great number of other nations. Al-Sisi made several significant state visits to Europe, Africa, and Asia during his first two years of presidency. His subsequent visits to several countries in contributed to reshaping relations built on mutual respect and non-interference in any country’s internal affairs, as well as a significant amount of agreements, deals, and memoranda of understanding that were signed.
No more queuing for bread
One of the most prominent of Al-Sisi’s success stories is dramatically reducing blackouts and ensuring sufficient subsidised bread for citizens.
The bread crisis was solved through the application of a new distribution system that eliminated citizens needing to wait in front of bakeries for bread. These bread queues have been a problem for more than 15 years. Nowadays, the electricity infrastructure is working properly and fuel is available, unlike during the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule and even before that.
Fighting institutional corruption
Though reports of corruption cases still come month after month, there have been several arrests of government officials inside over charges being involving in corruption or receiving bribes, such as former agriculture minister Salah Helal and, more recently, a high-ranking official from the Health Ministry,
The state was keen to develop the agricultural sector which has long been neglected. A land reclamation project of 1.5m acres is underway, while construction-wise the road network is being expanded to link Egypt’s governorates and to achieve better traffic flows. State construction firms began two years ago a 4400km expanded network along with the inauguration of other roads, according to a statement released by the presidency recently documenting progress.
Enhancing security in Sinai
Clashes between militants and state security forces in Sinai have long been bloody and frequent, particularly after Morsi was ousted in 2013. Since Al-Sisi took power, military operations against militants have intensified, such as Operation Martyr’s Right.
State security forces, represented by the Armed Forces and police conscripts, have increased their operations targeting militant stationing points and have imposed several checkpoints across North Sinai’s roads.