El-Sisi made an African tour, his first foreign visit since taking office a short visit to Algeria, seeking support to counter Islamist militancy in North Africa. Shortly before Sisi arrived in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea to participate in the 23rd ordinary session of the African Union summit where he gave his speech blaming the AU for freezing Egypt's membership a year before. El-Sisi also announced the establishment of an Egyptian partnership agency for Africa's development. He also concluded the tour with a few hours' visit to Sudan.
Sisi was born in Old Cairo on 19 November 1954, to parents Said Hussein Khalili al-Sisi and Soad Mohamed. He grew up in Gamaleya, near the al-Azhar Mosque, in a quarter where Muslims, Jews and Christians resided and in which he later recalled how, during his childhood, he heard church bells and watched Jews flock to the synagogue unhindered. Sisi would later enroll in the Egyptian Military Academy, and upon graduating he held various command positions in the Egyptian Armed Forces and served as Egypt's military attaché in Riyadh. In 1987 he attended the Egyptian Command and Staff College. In 1992 he continued his military career by enrolling in the British Command and Staff College, and in 2006 enrolled in the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Sisi was the youngest member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, serving as the Director of military intelligence and reconnaissance department. He was later chosen to replace Mohamed Hussein Tantawi and serve as the commander-in-chief and Minister of Defence and Military Production on 12 August 2012.
Relations with Israel have improved significantly following Mohamed Morsi's removal, with Sisi saying he talks to Israel's prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, "a lot." Sisi has been described by The Economist as "the most pro-Israeli Egyptian leader ever." With continuous support for Palestine, the Sisi administration supports the two-state solution establishing a Palestinian state on lands that were occupied in 1967 with Eastern Jerusalem as its capital for the Israeli–Palestinian conflict achieving the Palestinians needs and granting Israel the security it wants. The first months of Sisi's presidency witnessed the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict. Egypt also criticised the IDF operation in the Gaza Strip as "oppressive policies of mass punishment rejecting 'the irresponsible Israeli escalation' in the occupied Palestinian territory, which comes in the form of 'excessive' and unnecessary use of military force leading to the death of innocent civilians." It also demanded Israel adopt self-restraint and to keep in mind that being an "occupation force", it has a legal and moral duty to protect civilian lives.
Sisi, who is reportedly facing a severe economic ordeal in Egypt, has decided to raise fuel prices by 78 percent as an introduction to cut the subsidies on basic food stuffs and Energy, which eat up nearly a quarter of the state budget. The Egyptian government has always provided these subsidies as a crucial aid to millions of people who live in poverty, fearing people's anger in five years time. Egypt has spent $96 billion on Energy subsidies in a decade which made petrol in Egypt among the world's cheapest. Cutting the Energy subsidies will save 51 billion pounds. The government hopes the decision will benefit services such as health and education. Sisi also raised taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, applying a flat tax on local and imported cigarettes to between 25 and 40 cents per pack, as well as new property taxes, and plans to introduce a new scheme for value-added taxes. Chicken prices would reportedly rise by 25 percent days after the decision because of added transportation costs. Mini-bus and taxi fares were raised by about 13 percent. Slashing subsidies was recommended by international financial institutions, but no Egyptian leader had managed to broach the issue, fearing unrest in a country where nearly 50 percent of the population live in poverty and rely on government aid. President Sisi defended the decision to raise fuel prices, saying it was "bitter medicine" that should have been taken before and was "50 years late" but was not taken, as governments feared a backlash like the Bread Riots of 1977. Sisi, who had previously accepted only half of his own pay, called on Egyptians to make sacrifices, vowing to repair an economy growing at the slowest pace in two decades. Sisi warned Egyptians of more pain over the next two years from economic problems that he said had accumulated over the last four decades and needed to be fixed. Egypt also paid more than $6 billion it owed to foreign oil companies within two months. By March 2015 after 8 months of Sisi's rule, Egypt's external debt fell to $39.9 billion, a drop of 13.5 percent.
Sisi also stipulated that the Palestinian Authority would take power in the Gaza Strip in Future peace plans and conditioned an easing of transit restrictions at the Rafah checkpoint on the presence of a force from the Palestinian Authority's Presidential Guard being stationed on the Gaza side of the crossing as the Sisi administration considers Hamas an enemy, blaming them for the killing of 16 Egyptian Soldiers in 2012 and over the alleged involvement in the prisons' storming in the wake of Egyptian Revolution of 2011.
Cupcakes, chocolate and necklaces bearing the "CC" initials were created, restaurants in Egypt named sandwiches after him, blogs shared his pictures, and columns, op-eds, television shows and interviews discussed the "new idol of the Nile valley" in the Egyptian mainstream media. On 6 December 2013, el-Sisi was named "Time Person of the Year" in Time magazine's annual reader poll. The accompanying article noted "Sisi's success reflected the genuine popularity of a man who led what was essentially a military coup in July against the democratically elected government of then President Mohammed Morsi."
They also checked US Secretary of State John Kerry and his top aides through a stationary metal detector as well as with a handheld wand before meeting with el-Sisi in an unusual screening for a senior State Department official. Sisi also skipped Obama's invitation to the American-African summit. However, in a 2014 news story, BBC reported: "The US has revealed it has released $575m (£338m) in military aid to Egypt that had been frozen since the ousting of President Mohammed Morsi last year." In September 2014 Sisi visited the US to address the UN General assembly in New York. An extensive media campaign produced billboards which were distributed all over New York City, welcoming the Egyptian President. In August 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry was in Cairo for a "U.S.-Egypt strategic dialogue".
In August 2014, President Sisi initiated a new Suez Canal, a parallel channel running about one-third the length of the existing waterway, which would double capacity of the existing canal from 49 to 97 ships a day. The new canal is expected to increase the Suez Canal's revenues by 259% from current annual revenues of $5 billion. The project cost around 60 billion Egyptian-pounds ($8.4 billion) and was fast-tracked over a year. Sisi insisted funding come from Egyptian sources only. The new canal was inaugurated on schedule on 6 August 2015.
In November 2016, Sisi admitted that he supported the presidency of Bashar al-Assad in Syria for the sake of stability. In a February 2017 article in Foreign Affairs, Oren Kessler, the Deputy Director for Research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, suggests there are three reasons for Sisi's pro-Assad position: Egypt's Common enemies with Syria (ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood) as opposed to Saudi Arabia's antagonism with Iran; Egypt and Syria's shared opposition to the policies of Erdogan in Turkey; and Egypt's growing relations with Russia, a close ally of Syria. Kessler concludes that the sentiment of "revolution fatigue" amplifies Sisi's support for Assad.
Following the election of Republican Donald Trump as the President of the United States, the two countries are looking to improve the Egyptian-American relations. al-Sisi and Trump had met during the opening of the seventy-first session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2016. The absence of Egypt in President Trump's travel ban towards seven Muslim countries was noted in Washington although the Congress has voiced human rights concerns over the handling of dissidents. On March 22, 2017 it was reported that al-Sisi would be traveling to Washington to meet with Trump on April 3, 2017. President Trump praised Sisi, saying that Sisi had "done a tremendous job under trying circumstance".
In the 2018 presidential election, Sisi faced only nominal opposition (a pro-regime supporter, Moussa Mostafa Moussa) after the military arrest of Sami Anan and his enforced disappearance afterwards, threats made to Ahmed Shafik with old corruption charges and sex tape, and the withdrawal of Khaled Ali and Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat due to the overwhelming obstacles and violations made by the elections committee.