Inside Story

Egypt’s president: power to the people?

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi appeals to the nation for patience over Egypt’s energy crisis.

Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has responded to public anger over power shortages.

The former army chief made a nationally televised speech on Saturday, two days after a huge power cut ground much of the country to a halt, and rolling shortages had plunged entire neighbourhoods into darkness.

Sisi said Egypt needed about $12bn over five years to upgrade and build new power stations, and that the government was seeking investors to help provide the funds.

He urged all Egyptians to stand united, “hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder” to help solve the crisis, adding: “Please be patient and be sure that we will be able to overcome all those problems but this is not going to happen overnight or in a month or two, we are racing against time to solve those problems.”

Sisi also said others were trying to undermine the State, and Egypt was facing a “battle for its existence”.

He went on: “We are in a battle fighting terrorism, we are fighting with people that want to destroy the country and they are considering us [the rest of the Egyptians] the enemies and we are confronting them with all that we have.”

So will his speech be enough to soothe simmering discontent? Or will the lack of any immediate solutions fuel more public protests?

Presenter: Hazem Sika


Hassan Nafaa – a professor of political science at Cairo University.

Mohamed Elmenshawy – an Egyptian journalist and analyst at the Middle East Institute.

Omar Ashour – a senior lecturer in Middle East politics and security studies for the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at Exeter University.