Meet Egypt’s New Cabinet Under Sisi

Photo: Egypt Cabinet

The first cabinet under Egypt’s new President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi was sworn in on Tuesday morning, headed by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab. The new government is made up of thirty-four ministers. Twenty-one ministers are holdovers from the previous cabinet under the interim government, one of whom has been reassigned to a different ministry. Only thirteen new ministers have been added to the cabinet, many of whom has served as ministers in the past.

Changes to the ministries include the removal of the ministry of information and the creation of the ministry of urban development. Several ministries have been split: the ministry of investment was separated from the ministry of trade and industry; the ministry of scientific research was separated from the ministry of higher education, and the ministry of international cooperation was separated from the ministry of planning. Only four women were named ministers in Mahlab’s new cabinet, prompting the National Council for Women to criticize the latest announcements.

NEWLY APPOINTED MINISTERS

Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Shoukry, a career diplomat who joined the diplomatic corps in 1976, served as Egypt’s ambassador to the United States from 2008 to 2012. He received his bachelor’s degree in law from Ain Shams University in 1975. Shoukry previously served as secretary for information to deposed president Hosni Mubarak from 1995 to 1999. He was also Egypt’s permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva from 2005 to 2008 and ambassador to Austria from 1999 to 2003. From 1994 to 1995, he headed the Department of the United States and Canada in the ministry of foreign affairs. He also served in posts in Egypt’s embassies in London and Buenos Aires. Outgoing foreign minister Nabil Fahmy’s replacement came as a surprise to many.

Hany Dahy, Minister of Transport
Dahy served as head Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) from 2011 until his retirement in 2012. In his capacity as EGPC head, Dahy was one of the authorities responsible for the termination of Egypt’s natural gas export contract with Israel. Dahy was also the chairman of Engineering for the Petroleum and Process Industries (ENPPI), in which he succeeded in attracting $16 billion projects for the company. Under his leadership, ENPPI witnessed the highest net profit record in 2010 since its establishment.

Khaled Fahmy, Minister of Environment
Fahmy served as Egypt’s minister of environment in former president Mohamed Morsi’s government from January 2013 to July 2013, when he quit as part of mass resignations in the cabinet before Morsi’s ouster. Fahmy has over twenty-five years of experience in management of policy issues related to environment management, governance and economic development. He previously acted as Deputy Chief of Party for four USAID funded development technical assistance projects executed in cooperation with the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA). He was also Deputy Chief of party in Chemonics International from 2005 to 2008.

Gaber Asfour, Minister of Culture
Asfour served briefly as minister of culture following the 25 January 2011 before resigning due to ‘health problems.” A literary critic and author, Asfour held the post of the General Secretary of the Supreme Council for Culture, where he focused on the department of literary translations. Asfour later left the department to create the National Translation Foundation, which he headed and secured funding for from the Ministry of Culture. Asfour was also editor-in-chief of Fousoul, a literary quarterly publication. In 2008 he was awarded the UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture.

Nagla al-Ahwany, Minister of International Cooperation
Ahwany is the second woman to be appointed as minister of international cooperation after Fayza Aboul-Naga. She was appointed as economic advisor to Egypt’s cabinet in May 2011 and was the former deputy director of the Egyptian Centre for Economic Studies (ECES) and an economic research at the International Labor Organization (ILO). She has published several studies on informal labor and rural development, issues that are particularly relevant to Egypt’s economic agenda. She is also responsible for many publications on development issues, workers’ rights and legal empowerment of the poor. Ahwany also served as director of the European Studies Center at the faculty of Economics and Political Science at Cairo University and is a member of the National Council for Women’s (NCW) economic committee.

Ashraf Salman, Minister of Investment
Salman is a US-educated investment banker and the co-founder and co-CEO of Cairo Financial Holding, an Egyptian asset management, corporate finance and investment banking firm. Founded in 2008, it has as an authorized capital of EGP500 million and a paid-in capital of EGP240 million. Salman is an experienced financier, with over twenty years of experience with the public and private sector. A member of the Management Development Center for Industry, Salman was one of the architects of Egypt’s privatization program under Mubarak in the 1990s, taking part in the restructurings and valuations of public and private companies. He previously held a senior position at Arab African International Bank-Egypt and has worked on privatization policies.

Mahfouz Saber, Minister of Justice
Saber, the of head of Mansoura’s Appeals Court, was tapped by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab in February to be appointed Minister of Justice. He served as the secretary-general for the parliamentary election commission in the 2010 parliamentary polls, which are widely known to have been rigged. He also served as the Assistant Minister of Justice for judicial inspection and as the Secretary-General of the High Election Committee in November of 2011. Saber is known for taking disciplinary measures against members of the Judges for Egypt group, a group of judges known for their affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood. Saber has served as head of the judges’ disciplinary committee since August, sent a number of Judges for Egypt members to retirement after accusing them of taking part in political activities. The committee is also currently investigating thirty-four members of the Judges for Egypt movement.

Sayed Abdel-Khalek, Minister of Higher Education
Abdel-Khalek is the head of Mansoura University, where he was previously dean of the law school. He graduated from Cairo University in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in law. He was previously nominated for the position of minister of higher education in February 2014 by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab.

Ibrahim al-Henedi, Minister of Transitional Justice and Parliamentary Affairs
Henedy served as Egypt’s deputy justice minister and head of the Illicit Gains Authority, the body in charge of investigating corruption, which in the past investigated corruption charges on a host of prominent figures from Mubarak’s regime. Among the Mubarak-era figures referred to investigation under Henedi were former presidential hopeful and Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, and former minister of foreign trade and industry, Rasheed Mohamed Rasheed.

Sherif Hamad, Minister of Scientific Research
Hamad is the dean of engineering at Ain Shams University, where he also received his PhD in engineering in 1992. He previously served as the engineering department’s dean for student affairs. 

Hossam al-Din Moghazy, Minister for Irrigation
Moghazy has worked as a professor at Alexandria University since 2000, specializing in Irrigation and Hydraulics. He was made head of the irrigation engineering department in 2010. He wrote his Master’s thesis on groundwater hydrology in Wadi al-Natrun, and a PhD thesis at London University on the optimal design of wells to exploit groundwater in arid regions. He has also worked as a consultant to the irrigation ministry on several projects and his work has appeared in more than forty publications relating to engineering, groundwater irrigation, drainage and protection of the aquatic environment.

Adel al-Beltagy, Minister of Agriculture
Beltagy has headed the Global Forum for Agricultural Research since 2006, the International Association for the Development of Dryland since 2003, and the Council of Agricultural Research and Development since 2007. His research focuses on agriculture in arid lands and he has participated in the authorship of more than 140 scientific publications at the national and international level. Beltagy was awarded the State Award for Agricultural Science and Developed Technological Sciences in 2008; the Sultan Qaboos Insignia for Science, Culture and Arts; the Insignia of Independence from King Abdullah II of Jordan in 2005; the Medal of Honor from France in 2003; the Gold Medal of the Armenian Ministry of Agriculture in 2003; the Golden Pen of the International Society for Horticultural Science in 1982; and an honorary doctorate in science from Khartoum University in Sudan in 2006. El-Beltagi has a PhD in plant physiology and is a fellow of the World Academy of Sciences.

Mamdouh al-Damaty, Minister of Antiquities
Damaty has been the head of the antiquities department at Ain Shams University since 2006. He was previously deputy secretary of the Egyptian Museum from 1981 to 1987 and the secretary of the Museum of the Faculty of Antiquities at Cairo University from 1988 to 1996. Damaty has been on the board of directors of several cultural, scientific and archaeological institutions in Egypt, and he received the Order of Knight from Italy’s president in 2004. In June 2010 he received the State Award for Excellence for Social Sciences form the Ministry of Culture. Damaty received his BA and MA in ancient Egyptian antiquities from Cairo University and holds a PhD in ancient Egyptian antiquities

Laila Iskandar, Minister of Urban Development
While the ministry of urban development is a new addition, Iskandar served in the previous cabinet as minister of environment following the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi. Iskandar is an Egyptian social entrepreneur and the chairperson of the Community and International Development Consulting (CID). She has received international recognition for her environmental work, notably with garbage collectors in Cairo, for which she won the Goldman Environmental Prize in 1994 and the Social Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Schwab Foundation at the World Economic Forum in 2006. During her ministerial post, she was opposed to cement plants and sought to obtain cabinet approval to render coal an alternative source of energy due to shortages in traditional fuels like natural gas. Iskandar studied economics and political science at Cairo University. She then went on to gain a master’s in teaching and a doctorate in education at UC Berkeley and Columbia University, respectively.

MINISTERS REMAINING IN THEIR POSTS

Sedki Sobhi, Minister of Defense
Sedki Sobhi is an Egyptian General. From 2004 to 2005, Sobhi studied for a Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies at the US Army War College. While there, he wrote a paper recommending that the United States withdraw its military from the Middle East and concentrate instead on socio-economic aid for the region. In August 2012, former president Mohamed Morsi dismissed the former Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Sami Hafez Anan and promoted Sobhi from Major-General to Lieutenant-General, making him the new Chief of Staff. He was the commander of the Third Field Army and he is currently serving as Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces of Egypt. In March 2014, Sobhi was sworn in as Egypt’s new defense minister after Abdel Fattah al-Sisi resigned to announce his presidential bid. Sobhi is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

Mohamed Ibrahim, Minister of Interior
Ibrahim has held the office of minister of interior since January 2013 when he was appointed by former Prime Minister Hesham Qandil during the rule of former president Mohamed Morsi. Opposition figures suggest he was appointed to repress anti-Muslim-Brotherhood protests. Ibrahim, one of the few ministers to keep his post after Morsi’s ouster, has led the ministry of interior during a period that has seen a wide crackdown on Morsi’s supporters and the Muslim Brotherhood. Domestic and international groups have repeatedly accused the ministry of using excessive force, and human rights activists and opposition figures have called for his dismissal since the violent dispersal of pro-Morsi protest camps in Raba’a Al-Adawiya and Nahda squares. Ibrahim’s main challenge has been a militant insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula and a growing number of terrorist attacks across the country that have killed dozens of police and soldiers.

Hisham Zaazou, Minister of Tourism
Zaazou is a political independent who was appointed tourism minister in August 2012, also under Morsi. He was previously assistant to former Minister of Tourism Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour. Zaazou resigned in June when Morsi appointed a member of the Islamist group al-Jama’a al-Islamiya governor of Luxor. He later withdrew his resignation and continued as minister after the governor resigned. Prior to working with the ministry of tourism, he managed R&H Tourism Co. activities and was behind its global expansion into Egypt. He also served as General Manager of the Sakkara Travel Group and from 2004 to 2007 was the Director General of the Egyptian Tourism Federation. He is on the Boards of Egyptian Tourism Federation, Egyptian Tourist Authority, Tourism Development Authority, and the Arab Tourism Organization. He is also a member of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Atef Helmy, Minister of Communications
Helmy was originally appointed communications minister in January 2013. He resigned from the cabinet on July 1 in protest at former president Mohamed Morsi’s failure to respond to nationwide protests against his rule. A graduate of a military technical college, Helmy obtained a diploma in computer science from Ain Shams University in 1979. After leaving the army in 1983, he began his career in the civilian IT sector, working at several Egyptian and multinational corporations, including Oracle Egypt, where he became managing director. As Minister of Communications, Helmy chairs the Board of Directors of the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA), the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) and the National Telecommunication Institute (NTI). He also chairs the Board of Trustees of the Information Technology Institute (ITI) and the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC), and oversees the supervision of Egypt Post. 

Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour, Minister of Industry
As secretary-general of the Wafd Party, Abdel-Nour was the first minister from an opposition party to hold a cabinet post for thirty years. In February 2011, he was appointed minister of tourism by then Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq. He claims to have refused a ministerial position under former president Mohamed Morsi. In July 2013 he was appointed minister of industry and foreign trade to the interim cabinet headed by former interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawy. He is the founder of the Egyptian Finance Company and was a member of the National Council for Human Rights. He is also a director of the Egyptian Federation of Industries and the Egyptian Competition Authority.

Ashraf al-Araby, Minister of Planning
Araby served as minister of planning from August 2012 until May 2013 under former Prime Minister Hisham Qandil. He was replaced by Muslim Brotherhood figure Amr Darrag. An economist by training, al-Araby received his doctorate from Kansas State University. For the majority of his career, he worked at the National Institute of Planning. From 2006 until the end of 2011, he headed the technical advisory office of former Minister of Planning Fayza Abul-Naga. After a brief interlude, during which he worked at the Arab Planning Institute in Kuwait, al-Arabi was called back to head the ministry. He was a key part of the Egyptian team negotiating with the International Monetary Fund over a $4.8 billion loan.

Sherif Ismail, Minister of Petroleum
Ismail was appointed Minister of Petroleum and Minister Resources in July 2013 to the interim cabinet led by Hazem El-Beblawy. He is an engineer by training and has held several managerial posts at different state-run petrochemical and natural gas firms. He served as the executive deputy chairman and then chairman of the Egyptian holding company for petrochemicals (ECHEM), which was established in 2002. In 2005 he was named chairman of the Egyptian natural gas holding company (EGAS). Ismail is chairman of the state-owned Ganoub El-Wadi Petroleum Holding Company which manages exploration and production concessions, establishes joint ventures with private companies and constructs oil infrastructure.

Mohamed Hamed Shaker, Minister of Electricity
Shaker is chairman of Shaker Group, a consultancy and engineering firm that specializes in electricity projects. His firm is currently designing and constructing the power generation plant of the Cairo Metro’s third phase. It has also built major transmission lines and power generation plants across Egypt and other countries.

Nahed al-Ashry, Minister of Manpower
Ashry headed the department of labor relations and collective bargaining at the ministry under former-president Mohamed Morsi and in former interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawy’s cabinet. She has worked with most of the other cabinet ministers and has played a major role in negotiations with striking workers.

Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa, Minister of Religious Endowments
Gomaa was appointed as minister of religious endowments in July 2013 by former interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawy. The author of several books on Arabic literature and poetry, Gomaa was the dean of the Faculty of Islamic Studies at al-Azhar University and a member al-Azhar’s senior clerical institute. He was head of al-Azhar’s religious media and a forty-year member of the Egyptian Journalists’ Syndicate. Since assuming office, Gomaa has taken a series of controversial steps to reassert state control over Egypt’s sprawling network of mosques and to limit the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist organizations.

Mahmoud Abou al-Nasr, Minister of Education
Nasr is an Egyptian engineering professor and politician. He has been department head, dean, university vice president and professor of mechanical engineering at the Ain Shams University. He was also a faculty member at Cairo University’s mechanical engineering department. Nasr served in the Ministry of Education as deputy minister in September 2010, where he led the ministry’s technical education sector. He was sworn in as minister of education in July 2013 in the interim government of Hazem El-Beblawy.

Khaled Abdel-Aziz, Minister of Sports and Youth
Abdel-Aziz was the head of the Shooting Club, a private sports club in Giza, and then became chairman of the National Council of Youth. He is a member of the Egypt Party, founded and led by moderate Islamic preacher Amr Khaled. Abdel-Aziz was director of the 2006 African Cup of Nations, which Egypt hosted and won.

Major General Ibrahim Younis, Minister of Military Production
Younis is a major general in the army and chairman of the Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI), a military-owned company considered one of the largest industrial organizations in Egypt. The AOI supreme committee is headed by the country’s president and includes several other cabinet ministers. He was appointed to the post by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab in February 2014, which had been vacant since former minister Reda Mahmoud Hafez died in December 2013.

Adel al-Adawy, Mister of Health
Adawy replaced former health minister Maha Rabat in February 2014 upon appointment by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab. He previously served as an assistant to two former ministers of health, Ashraf Hatem and Amr Helmy. He is also vice president of Banha University with responsibility for graduate studies and research, as well as the head of the Egyptian Society of Orthopedics. Among his previous tasks in the ministry, Adawy sent medical missions to African countries and supported diplomatic relations with countries including Somalia. He was also part of a project organizing the transfer of patients between hospitals, particularly emergency cases, to decrease the number of delayed cases. Members of the Doctor’s Syndicate, who suspended a doctor’s strike in May upon negotiations with the ministry, have commended al-Adawi for being more cooperative than his predecessor and for supporting the doctors’ demands.

Mostafa Madbouly, Minister of Housing
Madbouly was appointed as Minister of Housing in February 2014 by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab. He is an architect and urban designer who was director of the UN’s HABITAT Regional Office for Arab States. Madbouly holds a PhD in urban planning from Cairo University and a postgraduate diploma in urban management from the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies in Rotterdam. He also served as chairman of the General Organization of Physical Planning for almost four years.

Khaled Hanafy, Minister of Supplies
Hanafy is chair of the Internal Trade Development Authority (ITDA), a governmental body belonging to the ministry of supply. He was appointed chair of ITDA after a decision by outgoing Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawy in late November 2013. He is also dean of the International Transport and Logistics faculty at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology, and Maritime Transport. Hanafy has been outspoken about the changes needed to a corrupt and wasteful bread subsidies system that is largely responsible for the government’s 32 billion Egyptian pound food imports bill. He has pledged to complete nationwide rollout of a smart card system for monitoring consumption of subsidized bread in the next few months.

Ghada Waly, Minister of Social Solidarity
In October 2011, Waly was appointed Managing Director of the Social Fund for Development (SFD), a government entity that focuses on youth employment and provides start-up companies with financial help and other services. Her past experience includes a stint at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) where she worked towards poverty reduction and job creation. Waly has served as Micro Finance and Access to Finance Advisor to the Chairman of Egypt Financial Supervisory Authority, where she provided institutional advice to the Chairman during 2009. She was also a board member of the Consumer Protection Agency, the first government body for consumer protection, which was created in 2006.

Mohamed Hossam Kamal, Minister of Civil Aviation
Kamal served as the Chairman and CEO of EgyptAir Holding Company from August 2011 until September 2012. He returned to his position in August 2013 and was named Minister of Civil Aviation in February 2014 by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab. He held several positions during his career at EgyptAir, including EgyptAir Holding Vice Chairman and Vice Chairman of EgyptAir airline and GM Flight Training. Kamal was also a member of the IATA Board of Governors, a chairman of the Executive Committees of the African Airline Association (AFRAA) and the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO). Kamal’s career in the aviation industry has seen him involved with cooperation projects for fuel and equipment purchase as well as a plan to exchange used parts to cut costs on Arab airlines.

Adel Labib, Minister of Local Development
Labib is the former governor of Alexandria, the Beheira governate, and the Qena governate. There were major protests against him in Alexandria, with some local groups accusing him of mismanagement. In 2011, Prime Minister Essam Sharaf appointed him governor of Qena for a second time after local protesters backed him over an unpopular alternative. He held this position until June 2012 when he was replaced in a reshuffle by former president Mohamed Morsi. He was appointed minister of local development in the interim government of Egypt under former interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawy.

Hany Kadry Demian, Minister of Finance
Demian was sworn in as minister of finance in March 2014 under Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab. He was first deputy finance minister for seven months from October 2012 to April 2013, when he resigned for apparent unease over the rising influence of Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated economists, according to sources from the finance ministry. Before this post, he was deputy minister for five years. Demian has been a key Egyptian negotiator with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In 2008, he was appointed as the Chairman of Deputies for the IMF’s International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC). He was the IMFC’s deputy at a G20 summit and chaired the IMFC communiqué drafting sessions. He was close to Youssef Boutros Ghali, a powerful finance minister from the Hosni Mubarak era who fled the country in February 2011.

Sources: Ahram Online, Daily News Egypt, Egyptian Streets, Ahram Online, Mada Masr