As the Egyptian election begins, the programmes of both candidates, politician Moussa Mostafa Moussa and incumbent President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, have been reviewed and discussed by media outlets and supporters of both sides. While Al-Sisi’s supporters and campaign heavily relied on the government’s national megaprojects and the ongoing fight against militancy, Moussa’s campaign relied on refining some economic policies. Nevertheless, both programmes largely focused on macroprojects, and establishing further ownership of capital for Egyptians citizens.
Mostafa’s programme starts with low-income citizens, asserting the need to impose restrictions on prices of essential goods, so they can be afforded by all social classes. He also calls for extensive monitoring of the pricing system, which should be carried out by the government.
One of the main pillars of Mostafa’s programme is his focus on what he calls “nationalist capitalism”, which entails deeply involving the state, local banks, and stakeholders in industries and projects. According to his programme, all closed factories should be reopened, their ownership shared through stocks where all of the nation’s citizens have a share, and where local banks and state institutions can own part of them.
He believes that the state must establish companies to market Egyptian products, especially in the African market in order to counter Asian producers. He also believes that all the previously established national projects should be publicly owned, where, again, civilians should own shares in these projects, but with the majority still owned by the state.
He also advocates the building of small hospitals owned by the state but with shares owned by civilians. He adopts the same strategy when strategising about education and tourism.
As for agriculture, he promised that the state will intervene to support farmers through modern methods of irrigation and fertiliser use. For tourism workers, he promised they will gain a share of tourism profits. Concerning Egypt’s foreign relations, the politician said that Egypt works on achieving peace and avoiding wars. He also added that Egypt should defend its rights in any maritime demarcation agreements and consult with the UN in cases of dispute.
Meanwhile, Al-Sisi pointed out, at the conference where he announced that he would seek the presidency, that the purpose of the government is to enable the Egyptian nation, and it is determined to create jobs for millions of youth in order to absorb workers returning from areas of conflict, utilising national projects and companies to do so.
Also, Al-Sisi has promised that he is working on building strong infrastructure for industry, such as roads, the New Suez Canal and its economic zone, ports, airports, and industrial areas. Al-Sisi also said that he knew that economic reform was a “tough and unpopular decision that was going to affect my popularity…I was advised to postpone it to another period or to the term of another president, but I had faith in the people.”
The Egyptian regime has, on a regular basis, relied on major national projects to contribute to boosting the national economy, economic development, and raising the country’s production rates.
At several conferences, Al-Sisi used already complete such projects as a method to promote his candidacy. Al-Sisi touts the latest economic reforms as having raised strategic foreign currency reserves from EGP 16bn to EGP 37bn since 2014. He also said that the level of unemployment has decreased from 13.4 % to 11.9%, citing the increased flow of foreign investments, at a rate of 14%, into the country from 2016 to 2017, as the value of investments reached EGP 400 bn.
In terms of infrastructure, he announced that the Egyptian government has built 25,000 residential units for the residents of informal settlements, while 245,000 units were built in social housing areas.
Al-Sisi has also pledged to continue projects that the government has initiated in the fields of energy exploration and urban expansion in several cities in the country, as well as the reclamation of 1.5m feddans of Egyptian farmland and launching new fish and poultry farms.