Egyptian media trumpet 'success' of Sinai conference

Egyptian media trumpet 'success' of Sinai conference
Analysis: Figures reported by Egyptian newspapers of the sums of money pledged by donors to save Egypt's moribund economy varied widely, and they don't add up.
2 min read
17 March, 2015
The outcome of the conference was greeted by hysteria in the media [Al-Araby]

The Egyptian media failed miserably to add up the revenue made by the Egyptian Economic Development Conference held over the past three days in Sharm al-Sheikh. The figures announced by the media varied greatly before Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab came out and set the record straight.

The numbers reported by the media exaggerated the amount of money Egypt managed to pull in from the conference. Al-Youm al-Sabei said the outcome by the second day of the conference was $90bn, but according to al-Bawaba News it was $85bn, $93bn according to al-Shorouq News and $100bn according to state run al-Ahram. The estimates of other newspapers ranged from $35bn to $55bn.

Mahleb however said in the conference's final press conference the correct number was $60bn, including Gulf loans worth $36.2bn signed in the conference, the projects worth $18.6bn agreed to be repaid over many years and $5.2bn from state funds and institutions such as loans in collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of International Cooperation.

Sisi to the world: Egypt is waking up.
- Al-Wafd Newspaper

Egypt's Monday morning newspapers published strikingly similar headlines in large font that said, "Egypt rejoices" and "Egypt has awoken".

Al-Wafd Newspaper had the main headline "Sisi to the world: Egypt is waking up", while al-Borsa News and al-Shorouq went with "Egypt is waking up now" and al-Gomhuria and al-Tahrir News chose "Egypt wakes up". Al-Akhbar decided on "Sisi: Now Egypt awakes" and al-Masaeya "Egypt wakes up". But al-Masry al-Youm broke the mould and went with "Egypt rejoices".

The media that failed to calculate the conference's revenues were concerned with selfies taken by young conference workers with President Abd Fatah el-Sisi. Al-Bawaba wrote "Die from jealousy" and al-Youm al-Sabei wrote "Men" as captions to the pictures. Al-Youm al-Sabei dedicated its whole front page to pictures of people taking part in the conference.

Presenter of the OTV television programme "Manchette (Headline)" Gaber al-Qarmouti celebrated the conference's success in his own way with flowers, showered money on himself in the manner working-class wedding-goers do on belly dancers and burned incense, a traditional Egyptian way of warding off the evil eye.

In response to the Egyptian media's coverage an activist on Facebook uploaded pictures of Mubarak era newspaper front pages with the headlines "Egypt awakens now" and "The day Egypt is reborn."

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.