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Egyptian, Saudi Air Forces Conduct Joint Drill to Support Arab Action - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Cairo- Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, speaking at an economic inclusion conference held in Sharm El Sheikh on Thursday, described what is happening in his country as “unprecedented.”

The world’s “most important” forum on financial inclusion kicked off in Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh on Thursday, with a keynote address by Sisi.

“The Egyptian people are engaged in two battles of utmost importance—the four-years-on-end battle fought against terrorism humbly, not only for self-defense, but on behalf of the world and that fought for development,” said Sisi.

The Egyptian and Saudi air forces started on Thursday the joint military drill “Faisal 11,” which Egypt is hosting for several days, the Egyptian armed forces announced.

The air forces from the two countries are engaging in military exercises including joint air combat missions using the most up-to-date tactics.

The Faisal 11 drill is the latest in a series of military exercises between Egypt and Saudi Arabia that aim to boost Egyptian-Saudi military cooperation.

More so, the forum at which Sisi spoke is the two-day 9th Global Policy Forum, organized by the International Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), brings together some 95 states and 119 international financial institutions.

AFI has said the forum is the “largest and most comprehensive event” it has ever held.

The regional initiative uses financial inclusion as a driving force for sustainable economic and social development in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

During his address, Sisi stressed the importance of financial inclusion as one of Egypt’s main targets that will help include all citizens, especially women and youth. It should ensure their access to financial services and help in merging the informal economy into the formal one, Sisi added.

This should boost economic growth and improve the living standards of citizens. Sisi noted that Egypt’s budget deficit stood at 9.5 percent during the fourth quarter of the 2016-2017 fiscal year, which ended in June, down from 11.5 percent during the same quarter last year.

During the conference, Egyptian representatives will discuss the country’s experience with financial inclusion, especially with regard to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, Egypt’s state news agency MENA reported.

During his speech in front of the summit, chairman of the board of the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) Abdel-Rahman Al-Hamidy highlighted the importance of the programs aimed at enhancing financial inclusion in the Arab world.

He also highlighted how momentum towards financial inclusion in the Arab region was reinforced by the regional Financial Inclusion Task Force (FITF) in 2012 and organizing an Arab Financial Inclusion Day to be held annually on April 27.

The official forum was preceded by three days of AFI meetings in Sharm El-Sheikh, including AFI policy working group meetings and the annual AFI general meeting.

The AFI general meeting endorsed the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Accord, which mandates the AFI network to pursue peer learning on practical policy solutions to the intersecting challenges of financial inclusion, climate change and green finance.