PM pledges major national projects to attract investments

Egypt's interim Prime Minister Essam Sharaf declared on Saturday that his government has drawn up a number of major projects to be presented within weeks.

The aim is to attract local, Arab and foreign investments, as well as secure thousands of job opportunities for Egyptians, Sharaf told his escorting delegation during the second summit for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), South African Development Community (SADC), and Eastern African Association countries in Johannesburg.

The prime minister added that the government will commence work on the Suez Canal pathway, which will be executed along the canal's western bank and the eastern side of Port Said Governorate. He said the project will include production zones and transit stations for cargo arriving from Asia and Europe.

He said that a maximum rate for public sector wages is currently being considered, in addition to further discussions over the minimum wage. The minimum wage was recently set by the government at LE700 per month, to increase to LE1200 over the next five years. Whether than number will apply to private sector as well as public sector is still under debate, but SCAF is due to make the final approval of the budget by July 1

Sharaf said his participation in the summit was a good chance to highlight Egypt's efforts to strengthen ties with African countries. He stressed the importance of high-level representation for Egypt in African conferences.

Sharaf also revealed a decision to appoint a deputy foreign minister for African affairs, and named Mohamed Hegazy, the former head of the African Affairs Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as his own adviser on Africa.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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