Al-Baz: Egypt’s president should be under 50

Egyptian space scientist Farouk al-Baz said Egypt’s new president should be no older than 50, to cope with the fast pace of change and to understand the needs of new generations.

All officials who belonged to ousted President Hosni Mubarak’s regime should leave their posts and give the opportunities to the youth, said al-Baz, who is director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University.

At a conference hosted by the Journalists Syndicate yesterday, al-Baz called on Egyptians to choose their next president carefully and to examine the electoral platform of every candidate before making a voting decision.

He also said the Constitution should be amended to make the president genuinely accountable.

The renowned scientist said he met yesterday with Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq to discuss his project “the development path”–which al-Baz suggests should extend from Egypt's north coast to Lake Nasser in the south to open up new areas for agricultural, industrial, urban and commercial development.

Al-Baz said the preliminary cost of the project is estimated at US$24 billion.

According to al-Baz, the project could be financed through a public offering with Egyptians buying the project's stocks, each according to his financial capacity. The door could then be opened to Arab and foreign investors.

Al-Baz said he has returned to Egypt to take part in rebuilding the nation. His “development path” helps achieve that end, the scientist said.

The media will bear a huge burden in the coming stage and will only be able to play an effective role if they become genuinely independent, al-Baz added.

The ex-NASA scientist also called for reforming education, giving greater attention to public education, and revamping current curricula which, he said, do not produce scientifically-minded people.

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