MASIKATI AKANAKA / Good Afternoon
Let me first welcome you all here in the Egyptian residence and to thank you all for coming on this important occasion to celebrate with us the 62nd Anniversary of the Egyptian 1952 Revolution, which toppled the Monarchy in Egypt and turned Egypt into a Republic, as well as leading the way for Egypt's independence from Foreign occupation.
The 1952 Revolution, occurred on the 23rd of July, but we had to delay our celebration cos it coincided with the holy month of Ramadan, and the Feast, as well as the national holidays here in Zimbabwe in the past two weeks.
Let me tell you that the 1952 Revolution in Egypt was among the very first revolutions against foreign occupation in Africa. Egypt led the way to freedom from colonization in the African continent, and after gaining its independence, Egypt inspired and supported all the African Liberation Movements that were thriving at that time. Among them of course was the liberation movement against occupation here in Zimbabwe which was led by H.E. President Mugabe. The late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser once said that he will never feel that Egypt is totally free, and independent, until its entire African brother and sister Countries are independent. In order to achieve this, Egypt was one of the seven Founding Fathers who established the African Union in 1963, with one of its major goals to secure the independence of All African Countries, and for Africans to be Masters again on their own Land and Resources.
Ladies & Gentlemen,
Today we are not only celebrating the 62nd Anniversary of the 1952 Revolution, but we are also celebrating – and in a very happy way – the 1st Anniversary of the success of the June 30th, 2013 Revolution. Those of you who were here in our last year celebrations may remember that, I stood before you here, and told you at that time that Egypt was passing through very difficult times, after the 30th of June Revolution which deposed the tyrannical Muslim Brotherhood Regime which came to power on the 30th of June 2012 unfortunately by the democratic ballot, but in the same way that Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, and Mussolini in Italy and Haider in Austria in the first years of this Millennium also through democratic ballot. The Muslim Brotherhood, Tricked the Egyptian People as they propagated lies about their nationalism and religiousness and their desire to develop the Country and solve all its problems that accumulated over the last decades, but in reality they did nothing of all of that.
On the contrary, the Egyptian People in just after one year of Muslim Brotherhood rule, discovered the ugly real face of the Muslim Brotherhood and went in millions to the streets to depose the Brotherhood's President and regain their Country, in a full fledged Popular Revolution, and -certainly not a Coup D'état- as the whole world now realized, (except for the Qatari Aljazeera News Channel that still propagates that it was a Coup D'état). That's why I would advise you if you want to know what's really happening in the Middle East, please don't listen to Aljazeera.
The Egyptian Army supported this Popular Revolution to save Egypt from slipping down into a dark tunnel and ending up into possibly the current Syrian or Libyan Scenario. (God Forbid), and to achieve the will of the Egyptian People to bring an end to the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, who used violence and cold blood murders to achieve their political goals, and were so far away from the proper, moderate Islamic teachings.
Ladies & Gentlemen,
When I stood here before you last year, I assured you that the Egyptian People and the Egyptian State will win their war against terrorism, cos No group or faction can win a war against a whole nation with its 90 Million People and Army.
And indeed, the Egyptian People, supported by their Mighty Army won their war against the Muslim Brotherhood, and its allies, who started to use terrorism to terrorize the Egyptian People in a desperate attempt to bring back their President that the Egyptian People have deposed last year, and who is now being tried in court for various allegations.
Thereafter, Egypt started to implement its political road map, as the people successfully approved a new constitution by an overwhelming 95% vote in a referendum in January 2014. Which is considered to be the most democratic and Human Rights respecting constitution in the Egyptian History. Moreover, the new Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah El Sisi, was elected by an overwhelming 97% vote last June in a democratic election that was monitored by the African Union, the COMESA, the European Union, and other concerned NGOs', and in which all of them approved and confirmed the fairness and transparency of these elections which reflected the real will of the Egyptian People. The Third and Final Stage in the Road Map is the Parliamentary elections which are due to take place soon.
Egypt has started on a new and irreversible phase in its contemporary history since the inauguration of President Sisi on June 8, 2014, which started by quickly resuming its activities in the African Union on June 17, 2014, after a unanimous vote from all members of the African Union Peace and Security Council to bring back Egypt to its proper leading place in the African Union.
As you may well realize that Egypt is now an island of relative Peace and Security in the troubled region of the Middle East, which is characterized by civil war in Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, as well as Israeli daily bombing and shelling of Gaza strip. Egypt will resume its leadership role in Africa, as well as playing a pivotal role in trying to end the Israeli aggression on Gaza and its civilian People and reach a final truce and ceasefire to avoid the loss of further innocent lives in this severe crisis, Moreover, Egypt is going to host an international conference next month sponsored by Egypt, Norway, and the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.
Egypt has also embarked lately on a massive National Project in which a New Suez Canal will be digged up parallel to the current Canal in order to promote and foster International Trade. The new canal will be 72 km long, 35 of which will be freshly dug up with the remaining 37 km expanding and deepening the current canal. The work will be done only by Egyptian Construction Companies. The overall cost will be around $ 14 billion, and will be financed totally by Egyptians, as Egyptian banks will issue "Suez Canal Investment Certificates" with a 12% interest on the Egyptian pound. This project will create around one Million Jobs and will limit the waiting time vessels spend in the canal from 11 to only 3 hours thus increasing demands and revenues as Egypt's revenues from the canal will increase from a current $ 5 billion to around $ 15 billion in 2023. It is decided also to finish this impressive project in just one year in August 2015. The project has started in the beginning of this month August and so far 15 million cubic meters of sand have been dug up. Moreover, this project will also include the creation of many industrial and special economic zones along the Canal Zone. I can assure you also that tourism will flourish in Egypt in the coming years in view of continued Peace and Security in the Country, as well as Egypt's vast and incomparable touristic advantages hoping to reach 20 million tourists visiting Egypt in 2020. I can assure year that Egypt is now back on the right track and will always remain powerful by the majority of its strong and united people and Mighty Armed Forces.
Now I will turn briefly to the Egyptian Zimbabwean Relations, I would like to first congratulate President Mugabe and the Zimbabwean Government for successfully hosting the 34th SADC Summit in Victoria Falls a few days ago, and for Zimbabwe assuming the presidency of the SADC. I wish Zimbabwe success and good luck in this important endeavour. I would also like to congratulate the Honorable Motshangwa here for his brilliant initiative to establish a Special Economic Zone in his native town Norton, and for the ambitious and forward looking exposure that he gave us a few weeks ago on this important project, wishing him all success in that project. And assuring him that we are ready to share with him and his team all the experiences that we have in creating Special Economic Zones in Egypt.
Regarding bilateral relations I must say that they have further developed during the last year despite Egypt's temporary suspension of its activities in the African Union. Examples of that was Egypt's participation in the 55th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo last April, which was the first time that Egypt participates in this fair since 2006. The Egyptian stand in the Fair was greatly honored by the visit of the first lady Mrs Grace Mugabe, as well as the Honorable Joice Mujuru the Vice President of Zimbabwe. Also an unprecedented Egyptian Night was held in Bulawayo on the fringes of the fair in which an Egyptian National Dancing Group danced to give a taste of the Egyptian culture and heritage. Another Egyptian Culture dancing group participated in the Harare International Carnival last May to support this carnival which coincided with the celebrations of the Africa Day on 25th of May 2014.
Trade levels between Egypt and Zimbabwe during the last year increased, as you can see now more and more Egyptian food products are in the Zimbabwean markets, some of them are on display here for your taste. However, we are striving to have more Egyptian products on the markets here in Zimbabwe but I can tell you it’s very hard to compete with South Africa herein the Zimbabwe markets!!
Trade and linkages between Egypt and Zimbabwe was further enhanced by the resumption of the Egypt Air Flights from Cairo to Harare since June 2013. However, there are some challenges facing the continuation of these fights which we hope that we will be able to overcome with the help of our Zimbabwean partners to guarantee their continuation.
Egypt also provides Zimbabwe with many university scholarships for Zimbabwean students, as well as various training programs the whole year through for Zimbabwe in different sectors such as (Health, Agriculture, Media, and Security)
Furthermore the Egyptian Zimbabwe sides are currently studying an important joint project for food security in both countries in the field of agriculture, in which 10,000 hectares of land will be cultivated in Zimbabwe with wheat and maize using Egyptian expertise and machinery, and sharing the harvest between both countries to achieve food security in these strategic crops.
Last but not least, we hope that the third session of the joint committee meeting between Egypt and Zimbabwe chaired by the foreign Ministries of both countries will be held soon in Harare, bringing the Egyptian Foreign Minister to visit Harare after many years. However the Egyptian side is still waiting for the Zimbabwe counterpart to send the invitation to hold these meetings as they will be hosted by Zimbabwe.
Finally, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation for all of you for your kind attention and patience, and your valuable presence with us today. Thank you very much and God Bless you all.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH