Al-Sisi’s fake projects have wasted billions of pounds

General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has directed a number of projects that will cost about EGP 30 billion ($1.88 billion). The new projects are concentrated, in particular, on expanding the establishment of private universities affiliated with government universities by using the land they own in the new urban communities. For example, the Egyptian regime is moving towards the establishment of the Suez National University in the Ismailia East and Port Said National University in Salam City. These projects are the latest in a series of major and mega projects announced by the regime, to push citizens to a dream with prosperity and progress after a storm of media propaganda for the upcoming projects.

The Egyptian citizen wakes up after years of mock projects to an unchanged situation, and the standard of living did not improve. Things got worse and the country sank into more debts and loans, the collapse of the local currency and a terrible deficit in the public budget. The Egyptians have lived dreams that have all turned into illusions, amid growing publicity about fictitious projects in the past few years, particularly since General al-Sisi seized power with a military coup in 2013.

The regime’s mock projects started with the Suez Canal, which the Egyptian regime called the New Suez Canal, the million-acre project, the national road network, and the gold mining triangle. Citizens continued to pursue fake projects they usually call the “Fankoush.”

The new Suez Canal

The most prominent of these fictitious projects was digging the Suez Canal branch, which cost EGP 99.2 ($6.2 billion) billion in 2015, in addition to EGP 5.6 billion ($351 million) of interest paid annually. Despite the unprecedented promotion of the project and its expected profits, it did not achieve anything. Rather, the Suez Canal revenues decreased after collecting EGP 64 billion ($4 billion) from companies and citizens through investment certificates.

The decline in the channel’s revenues was not the only problem that al-Sisi’s project caused for the Egyptian economy. The rush to finish the project and assign most of the excavation and drilling operations to foreign companies that were paid in foreign currencies led to Egypt falling into a severe shortage of foreign exchange. The project was considered by experts as one of the biggest setbacks of the Egyptian economy, as it led to a historical rise in the price of the American dollar compared to the Egyptian pound, until the USD exchange rate broke the barrier of 16 EGP. USD price recorded EGP 7.17 before al-Sisi assumed the presidency.

Fictitious projects

One of the fictitious projects promoted by the Sisi regime is the one-million-acre reclamation project, which collided with the water deficit, especially after the escalation of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam crisis and Egypt’s failure to negotiate with Ethiopia, in light of the country’s suffering from severe water poverty. As for another dummy project that al-Sisi announced, he was supposed to be establishing the National Road Network within one year, according to his statements immediately after assuming the presidency, but the government has not accomplished anything in this project.

The Egyptian regime also did not repair old, dilapidated roads, neither did it repair existing bridges. It also was remarkable that a number of new bridges collapsed and parts of them fell within days of their opening, to be closed again for maintenance, which shows the urgency in opening them for media propaganda amid talk of suspicions of corruption and the waste of public money. This problem is not new or surprising to many followers, who see that these fictitious projects are implemented without any study of their economic feasibility, as the main objective behind them is to support the popularity of the ruling regime, especially during periods of economic stagnation and political pressure.

Observers describe al-Sisi’s projects as a link in a series of failed national projects that crushed the Egyptian economy during the past decades.