President Hosni Mubarak called Sunday for population growth to be slashed, illiteracy to be wiped out, and the role of women boosted in order to boost Egypt's social and economic development.
In the opening speech at a national conference on social development in Egypt, Mubarak called for "a more active participation of women in political and social life."
In a speech broadcast live on national television, the Egyptian leader also said: "The next five years must see an end to illiteracy."
According to official figures, 45 percent of Egyptians are illiterate.
Mubarak also condemned the growth in population, now estimated at 65 million, which he said is one of the "most serious threats to the plan for economic and social reform" his government undertook in the last decade.
He called for "intensified efforts to reduce the birth rate."
The population has increased by 3.7 million from the 61.5 million recorded in the 1996 census, an annual rate of just over two percent, government figures show.
The recommendations emerging from the conference which ends Tuesday will serve to forge "a general strategy for national development and social renewal over the next five years," according to conference organizers -- CAIRO(AFP)
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