SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Sunday that the African countries are now in dire need of double efforts at all levels to deepen cooperation and economic integration.
Speaking at the Africa 2018 Forum in Egypt's Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, Sisi said that the world views Africa as a land of promising opportunities qualified to achieve high rates of sustained economic growth.
Sisi added that Africa has enormous human resources and wealth, which "presents us with a great challenge to achieve decent living standards for all citizens of the continent."
Meetings of Africa Forum 2018 kicked off on Saturday with the participation of a number of African leaders from the countries of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.
The forum tackles with infrastructure, entrepreneurship, investment and women-related issues across the African continent.
"In this regard, I would like to emphasize the importance of using the potential of African youths and supporting their ideas by funding productive projects," Sisi said.
He added that it is also important to provide more economic empowerment for African women and eliminate all forms of violence as well as discrimination against them.
The Egyptian president said that this year's meeting comes at a time when Africans are looking for further regional integration and facilitating intra-regional trade, especially after the African Continental Free Trade Area was launched at the Kigali Summit in March.
Sisi stressed the keenness to increase investments among the continent's countries through joint and cross-border projects, particularly in areas of infrastructure, new and renewable energy, telecommunications and information technology.
"We aspire to achieve these goals through joint action under the umbrella of the African Union, which Egypt is to chair next year," Sisi said.
According to him, Egypt's investments in Africa have been increased this year by 1.2 billion U.S. dollars to a total of 10.2 billion dollars.
The Egyptian president added that his country has come a long way in economic, structural and social reforms in various sectors to create a more attractive environment for domestic and foreign investment.
"These reforms have contributed to the improvement of Egypt's economic indicators and credit ratings," he said.