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Egypt's government: It's time to get to know the ministers

Who are the 35 ministers that were appointed by Prime Minister Hesham Qandil and what does their history and political background reveal about them?
On the 1st of August 2012, Egypt’s stock market witnessed an unusual surge, and news portal Bloomberg reported: “Egypt Shares Advance Most in the World as Cabinet Unveiled”.

First elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi appointed Dr. Hesham Qandil – former Minister of Irrigation - as Prime Minister at the end of last month, and on the first of August, the names of the new Cabinet were partly announced.

Kamal Ganzouri’s successor appointed 29 technocrats, 4 member s of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), 1 member of the Nahda Party, and 1 member of the moderate Wasat Party.

Evaluating and monitoring this government – which is considered the Cabinet of the revolution – will be one of the hardest tasks for the Egyptian people. Many ministers are unknown to the public, and some ministries were just newly established.

To clear up the sky, Egypt Business Directory offers a short description of each member of the newly appointed Cabinet, focusing on the most important aspect in their political background and field of expertise.

1. Ministry of Interior: Major-General Ahmed Gamal Eldin
Having a rarely found positive record and history in the Ministry of Interior, Gamal Eldin is known for uniting Bedouin Tribes during his service in Sinai and managing the demonstrations in Assiut Governrate during the January 25th Revolution without killing a single protester.

2. Ministry of Communications and Information Technology: Hani Mahmoud
Being the former Chairman of the Egyptian Post during the Mubarak-era, Mahmoud was one of the many figures suggested for the position of Minister of Communications and Information Technology. Many workers at the Post see him as a controversial figure and accuse him of allowing corruption and failing at correctly and truthfully leading the Egyptian Post institution.

3. Ministry of Electricity and Energy: Mahmoud Saad Balbaa
As the President of the Egyptian Electric Holding Company, Balbaa worked closely with the former Minister of Electricity and Energy Dr. Hassan Younis to establish Banha’s electricity generation projects, which will be supplied and installed by a coalition of Japanese companies, such as Hitachi and Toyota.

4. Ministry of State for Antiquities Affairs: Mohamed Ibrahim
As the antiquities sector is facing a lot of challenges, especially with stolen artifacts and their illegal trade, Ibrahim remained in his post which he obtained during the Ganzouri government. Qandil saw it as safest to keep Ibrahim, who has a diploma from the University of Lyon.

5. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Mohamed Kamel Amr
Surviving from the Sharaf and Ganzouri governments, Amr used to be Egypt’s ambassador in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and remains in position of Minister for Foreign Affairs, after he was heavily criticized for being a member of the Presidential Campaign of one of his predecessors Amr Moussa in 2012. He was also the Executive Director of the World Bank.

6. Ministry of Industry and Trade: Hatem Saleh
Being more a Business tycoon than an engineer, Saleh set several milestones and occupied various high-ranking positions in multinational organizations like Unilever and Procter & Gamble, while additionally being the deputy head of the Hadara Party – a party mainly founded by former members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

7. Ministry of Justice: Ahmed Mekki
Known as a reformist judge and a fighter against corruption in the Mubarak-era, Mekki is the former vice-president of the Court of Appeal. Recently denying that he has any connection with the Muslim Brotherhood, he assures that he – as a judge – cannot be affiliated with any political movement or party.

8. Ministry of Finance: Momtaz El-Said
El-Said has been working in the Ministry of Finance for over forty years, and faces criticism for being the President of the Minister’s Office during Youssef Botros Ghali’s era. Ghali is the former Minister of Finance and faces charges of corruption; yet, he lives abroad and refuses to return to Egypt.

9. Ministry of Health and Housing: Mohamed Mostafa Hamed
Hamed, a medical doctor at Cairo University’s AlQasr AlEiny hospital, is criticized for being one of Hatem ElGabaly’s “men”, as he was personally appointed by the former minister and seen as part of a system that ruined the health sector.

10. Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation: Ashraf ElAraby
After actively working in the National Planning Institute of Egypt, ElAraby is replacing long-standing Minister Fayza Abol Naga, yet is expected to have less of an influence on public affairs than his predecessor, as he is not very known.

11. Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Development: Tarek Wafiq
Wafiq is a Cairo University professor for Urban Planning and a member of the High Board of the FJP, and has conducted various studies in the field of Housing, Utilities and Urban Development.

12. Ministry of Supply and Social Affairs: Abu Zeid Mohamed Abu Zeid
Working in the Egyptian Holding Company for Supply since 2002, Abu Zeid has been responsible for the production, distribution and selling of bread throughout the country and is now promising to work on realizing the dream of social justice.

13. Ministry of Tourism: Hisham Zaazou
As a former head of the Egyptian Tourism Federation, Zaazou became involved in Tourism when he established an Egyptian tourism agency in America in the 1980s, and is now a prominent member in the International Tourism Federation of the United Nations.

14. Ministry of Petroleum and Metallurgical Wealth: Osama Kamal
Kamal served as the Chairman of Egypt’s Holding Company for Petrochemicals and is – naturally – setting the elimination of the gas and solar crises as his first priority, as well as annulling the subsidies for factories.

15. Ministry of State for Local Development: General Ahmed Zaki Abdeen
Abdeen is one of the Military Generals appointed in the Cabinet and was serving as the Governor of Beni Suef in 2006, and later as the Governor of Kafr ElSheikh. An engineer by profession, Abdeen was the head of several military departments related to his field of expertise.

16. Ministry of Religious Endowment: Talaat Afifi
Promising he would maintain the Azhar moderate religious perspective, Afifi seems to be a figure that was accepted by the public for this position, unlike Osama ElAbd, who was firstly suggested to become Minister of Religious Endowment. Afifi is the former Dean of the Azhar Faculty of Advocacy.

17. Ministry of State for Military Production: Aly Sabri
Sabri is a military-man who held the same position in Sharaf’s and Ganzouri’s government.

18. Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation: Mohamed Bahaa Eldin
Working his way upward from Deputy Minister, Bahaa Eldin is also the former head of the irrigation authority and was responsible for the National Plan for Water Resources and Irrigation project.

19. Ministry of Transportation: Mohamed Rashad
Rashad is an Engineering Professor at Cairo University, who gained most of his early education and experience in the United States and has been serving as a consultant in several ministries related to his field of expertise.

20. Ministry of Media: Salah Abdel Maqsoud
Besides being a prominent member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Abdel Maqsoud is also an important and longstanding member of the Board of the Journalists’ Syndicate, and has been very active in Arab and Muslim organizations.

21. Ministry of Civil Aviation: Samir Imbaby
Recorded as the first civilian to head the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Imbaby is the successor and former advisor of presidential candidate Ahmed Shafik.

22. Ministry of Insurance and Social Affairs: Nagwa Khalil
Also a holdover from the Ganzouri government, Khalil was part of the fact finding committee that investigated the killing of the protesters during the January 25th revolution, and has a history in the field of social and criminological research.

23. Ministry of Education: Ibrahim Ghoneim
Ghoneim is the Vice President of Suez Canal University and has a number of experiences in teaching curriculums related to engineering and technology.

24. Ministry of Scientific Research: Nadia Zakhari
The Ministry of Scientific Research was secluded from the Ministry of Higher Education, and Zakhari remained in her position, which she obtained in Ganzouri’s government. She is a professor of biochemistry and tumor biology at Egypt’s National Cancer Institute.

25. Ministry of State Environment Affairs: Mostafa Hussein Kamel
Taking after his father – former Minister of Education Hussein Kamel Bahaa ElDin, Kamel Jr. is another holdover of Ganzouri’s government, and a professor of Science at the Cairo University

26. Ministry of Agriculture and Lands Cultivation: Salah Abdel-Mo’men
Abdel-Mo’men is the third Agriculture Minister to emerge from the Agricultural Research Center and has received most of his education and experience from the United States.

27. Ministry of Higher Education: Mostafa Mosaad
Despite being responsible for the file on education of Morsi’s presidential campaign, Mosaad’s background does not offer any experience in the educational field. He is currently a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and a professor at the Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University.

28. Ministry of Culture: Mohamed Saber Arab
Accused of being part of the ousted regime, Arab held this position previously for three months under Ganzouri. His appointment brought positive and negative winds with it, as part of the cultural elite are relieved that a liberal has obtained this post, while others reject him fully due to his affiliations with the old regime. Arab is the former Chairman of the National Library and Archives of Egypt.

29. Ministry of Manpower and Immigration: Khaled ElAzhary
Besides being a member of the dissolved parliament and a prominent leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, ElAzhary is also known for his efforts in the Trade Unions Federation and his support for workers’ rights.

30. Ministry of Defense: Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi
Tantawi has been in charge of the Ministry of Defense for 21 years – mainly during the Mubarak-regime – and is also the head of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces.

31. Ministry of Utilities, Drinking Water and Sanitary Drainage: AbdelQawi Khalifa
After being the President of the Holding Company for Drinking Water and Sanitation during the Mubarak-era, Khalifa worked himself upwards to become the governor of Cairo after the January 25th revolution.

32. Ministry of Youth: Osama Yassin
A pediatrician by profession, Yassin has been an active member of the Muslim Brotherhood since 1985, and played an important role in the group’s media representation and organization during the January 25th revolution. He is also a member of the dissolved parliament.

33. Ministry of Sports: ElAamery Farouq
Another holdover of the old regime is ElAamery Farouq, a former member of Mubarak’s National Democratic Party and a board member of ElAhly Sports Club.

34. Ministry of Investment: Osama Saleh
The recall of the Ministry of Investment will be guided by Saleh, who is the Chairman of the General Authority for Free Zones and Investment.

35. Minister of Parliamentary Affairs: Mohamed Mahsoub
As the current Dean of the Faculty of Law of Menoufiya University, Mahsoub is also a member of the constituent assembly responsible for writing and putting together a new constitution for Egypt.
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About the author: Egypt Business Directory

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