(Bloomberg) -- Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi was sworn in for a third term as expectations build for wide-ranging changes after a $50 billion international bailout warded off the country’s worst economic crisis in decades.

El-Sisi took the oath of office on Tuesday, extending his rule until 2030. The ceremony took place in the North African nation’s new administrative capital, east of historic Cairo — one of the multi-billion dollar megaprojects that critics contend contributed to Egypt’s grueling foreign-currency crunch.

The world faces increasing economic, scientific and political challenges that require Egyptians be proactive “because we are in a race with time,” El-Sisi, 69, told parliament afterward. Since taking office in 2014, his major priority has been Egypt’s security and saving “our country from extremism, destruction and collapse,” he said.

The former defense chief-turned-statesman sailed to victory in December’s little-contested presidential election with 89.6% of ballots, even as Egyptians fretted over a record surge in living costs. Participation was buoyed in part by Egyptians seeking stability amid concern over a potential spillover of the Israel-Hamas war and the mass displacement of Palestinians into the country’s Sinai peninsula.

There’s been a dramatic economic turnaround since. An injection of funds — spearheaded by a $35 billion investment pledge by the United Arab Emirates and followed by renewed International Monetary Fund, European Union and World Bank support — has handed El-Sisi the prospect of a fresh start. 

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Still to be seen, however, is whether the government will remain committed to the reforms tied to some of the help, such as enacting spending cuts and curbing the large role in the economy played by the state, including the military. 

On March 6, authorities let Egypt’s pound plunge some 40%, likely securing the IMF package but piling more pressure on the country’s 105 million-plus people. The currency has made small gains since.

Critical Steps

After the $8 billion IMF aid was confirmed last week, the lender’s chief, Kristalina Georgieva, warned that “sustaining the shift to a liberalized foreign exchange system, maintaining tight monetary and fiscal policies, and integrating transparently off-budget investment into macroeconomic policy decision-making will be critical.”

El-Sisi on Tuesday pledged to adopt “comprehensive institutional reform” that would rationalize public spending, build revenue and move toward “more sustainable paths for public debt.” Authorities will also press ahead with plans to establish Egypt as a regional hub for trade, transport and renewable energy and work to maximize the role of the Suez Canal, he said. 

Traffic through the vital waterway has fallen dramatically this year after attacks on Red Sea shipping by Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Egypt’s recent deals and loans “were required and necessary financial solutions that were taken despite their social cost,” Ziad Bahaa Eldin, a former deputy prime minister, wrote in a recent column for the Cairo-based Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper.

“What we’re waiting for is the move to programs that can stimulate the real economy so that there is hope of not repeating the same policies and committing the same mistakes,” he said.

Read More: Egypt Avoided an Economic Meltdown. What Next?: QuickTake

El-Sisi, who was first elected a year after the military’s overthrow of an Islamist president facing mass protests, has defended the government’s economic policies while acknowledging the hardship in a country where 70% of households rely on some form of state subsidy.

He has urged Egyptians to be patient, saying that building what authorities have dubbed a New Republic — a wide-ranging concept that includes massive new infrastructure as well as the development of historically neglected regions — requires sacrifices by all.

--With assistance from Salma El Wardany and Abdel Latif Wahba.

(Updates with El-Sisi speech from third paragraph.)

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