CAIRO - President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi paid tribute on Friday to the "sacrifices" and "patience" of Egyptians struggling with an economic crisis 10 years after he came to power.

His speech marked the anniversary of protests during which Sisi, then army chief, led the ouster of Egypt's first democratically elected president, before becoming president himself the following year.

He alluded to the militant attacks and political and economic uncertainty of that era.

"I believe that this generation who through their effort and patience transported Egypt from chaos and anxiety to stability and security is able to complete its development transformation," he said, reading from prepared comments.

Sisi cited infrastructure and energy advancements as well as the establishment of new cities, one of his several cash-intensive initiatives.

Egypt faces an increasingly tough task raising cash for foreign debt repayments after external borrowing quadrupled over the past eight years to fund projects like a new capital, new high-speed rail, and a nuclear power plant.

Its growing crisis was exacerbated when Russia's invasion of Ukraine raised commodity prices while causing foreign investors to pull out of emerging markets and depriving Egypt of crucial tourism inflows.

Amid negotiations and the signing of a new IMF package, the currency has been devalued by about half since March 2022.

"The huge sacrifices that the Egyptian people and their institutions have made are only worthy of victory," he added.

Sisi was re-elected president in 2018 with no real opposition. The next round of elections is scheduled for 2024.

Human rights groups estimate tens of thousands of people including liberal activists as well as Islamists have been jailed since Sisi led the overthrow of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Mursi in 2013.

Sisi and his supporters say the country has no political prisoners, and that stability and security are paramount.

(Reporting by Nafisa Eltahir; Editing by David Gregorio)