Meet the ministers: A thumbnail guide

Ahram Online, Wednesday 7 Dec 2011

A brief list and description of the newly-appointed members of the Kamal El-Ganzouri Cabinet

New interior minister
Egypt's new interior minister Mohamed Youssef Ibrahim (Photo: Ahram)

Mohamed Youssef Ibrahim: minister of interior

64-year-old Alexandria-born Mohamed Youssef Ibrahim graduated from the police academy in 1968, where he began his career in general security and criminal investigation.

From 1989 to 1999, Ibrahim worked in the general security sector in several Upper Egyptian governorates, which witnessed several terrorist attacks by Islamic fundamentalists during his tenure.

From 2003 to 2006, Ibrahim headed up the Giza Security Directorate. In December 2005, he faced serious criticism from the media and human rights organisations when the Central Security Forces, under his command, violently dispersed a sit-in staged by Sudanese refugees at Mostafa Mahmoud Square in Cairo’s Mohandesin district, in which 27 refugees were killed and hundreds injured. The incident later became known as the “Mostafa Mahmoud massacre.”

In 2006, Ibrahim was promoted to first minister’s aide for the economic security sector before his retirement the following year.

Adel Abdel Hamid: minister of justice

After a 40-year career as a state prosecutor and judge, Abdel Hamid was appointed by former president Hosni Mubarak to head Egypt’s Court of Appeals from 2009 to 2010. He also headed the Supreme Council of Judges.

In one of his most controversial rulings during his two-year tenure as Appeals Court head, Abdel Hamid repealed a death penalty verdict on business tycoon Hisham Talaat Mostafa, who had been convicted for his role in the 2008 murder of pop singer Suzanne Tamim.

Gamal El-Arabi: minister of education

A former mathematics teacher, El-Arabi worked his way up the education ministry’s administrative apparatus over 35 years to eventually head the central administration of secondary school examinations in March 2011.

The Independent Union of Teachers has rejected El-Arabi’s appointment as minister, accusing him of having participated in the “corruption” of Egypt’s educational institutions during the Mubarak era. The union has threatened to call for mass demonstrations to prevent him from entering ministry headquarters.

Foad El-Nawawy: minister of health

El-Nawawy is a professor of Botany at Cairo University’s faculty of medicine. He also headed Cairo’s Kasr El-Aini hospital from 1995 to 2000.

El-Nawawy replaces outgoing minister Amr Helmi, who publicly sided with protesters’ version of events during the January uprising and provided the public with accurate death tolls following bloody confrontations between security forces and protesters.

Fathi Fekri: minister of manpower

Fekri teaches constitutional law at Ain Shams University. He did not play an active role in the labour movement prior to his ministerial appointment.

According to labour activists, Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri failed to find any ministry officials who were not mired in corruption cases or connected in one way or another to attacks on revolutionaries in the infamous “battle of the camel” on 2 February 2011.

Moreover, the same sources told Ahram Online that the new prime minister refused to approach the heads of Egypt’s new independent unions because of their militant stances on labour issues.

Hussein Mostafa Moussa Khaled: minister of higher education

Khaled is a prominent MD with 35 years of diversified experience in the medical field; a former dean of the National Cancer Institute; and Cairo University vice president for higher education and scientific research.

Ashraf El-Sharkawy: minister of investment and the businesses sector

El-Sharkawy was appointed head of Egypt's Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) in the immediate wake of Mubarak’s ouster. He was appointed advisor to EFSA's head in 2010, when Mahmoud Mohie El-Din was minister of investment.

He is a professor at Cairo University’s faculty of commerce.

Nagwa Hussein Khalil: minister of social affairs and insurance

After being eliminated for six years, the social affairs ministry was reinstated with Nagwa Khalil as minister. Her first statement after the appointment was that she would work to increase pensions.

Khalil last served as the National Centre for Social and Criminological Research. She obtained her PHD from Cairo University, where her thesis was on "the problems of Egyptian society following the Second World War."

She was also a member of the fact-finding committee that was mandated with investigating the violent events that occurred during the January uprising.

Momtaz El-Said: minister of finance

El-Said was second-in-command at the finance ministry under former minister Hazem El-Beblawi. He is a long serving employee at the finance ministry, where he headed up the budget division.

More importantly, he served as ministry undersecretary during the tenure of Mubarak-era minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali, who fled the country after the January uprising and who has been indicted on corruption charges.

El-Said's first statement as minister was that he would not alter the 2011/12 state budget, which has been heavily criticised for not meeting redistributive expectations. 

Nadia Iskandar Zakhary: minister of scientific research

Zakhary is a professor of biochemistry and tumour biology at Egypt’s National Cancer Institute.

Major General Ahmed Anis: minister of information

President of the Egyptian Satellite Company (Nilesat), Anis headed up the Radio and Television Union at Maspero during the era of former minister Anas Al-Feki.

The Free Media Movement issued a statement rejecting Anis’ nomination as information minister, saying he was not suitable for the post given his involvement in “spoiling and corrupting the local media industry.”

The movement has called for the appointment instead of a Maspero veteran with a corruption-free record.

Shaker Abdel Hamid: minister of culture

Abdel Hamid was appointed as secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Culture in mid-August after the resignation of Ezzedine Choukri. He currently teaches at the Academy of Arts.

He has published several books and studies devoted to the relation between psychology and art, winning the Jordanian Abdul Hameed Shoman Award for Young Arab Scientists in the field of Humanities in 1990. In 2003, he won the State Prize for Excellence in social studies.

“We are willing to encourage young people and improve the different sectors of the ministry of culture,” Abdel Hamid told Ahram Online. “We are also aiming to improve the Academy of Arts.”

Hussein Massoud: minister of civil aviation

Just like his predecessor, Lotfi Kamal, new civil aviation minister Hussein Massoud has a military background, having spent the first 22 years of his career in the Egyptian Air Force. He has served as chairman of the Egypt Air Holding Company since September 2009.

The 63-year-old’s appointment has been met with mixed reactions, with some aviation workers endorsing the move and others, notably at Luxor’s international airport in Upper Egypt, demanding the appointment of a civilian minister.

Mostafa Hussein Kamel: minister of environment

Kamel replaces long-serving environment minister Maged George, who had occupied the position since 2004.

The academic tenures of Kamel, a former professor at Cairo University’s science faculty, include heading up Cairo’s Centre for Environmental Hazard Mitigation and the geophysics section at Cairo University.

Mohamed Ibrahim Ali Sayed: minister of antiquities

Ali Sayed worked for Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities at the Saqqara and Giza Necropolis archaeological sites. He obtained his PhD from France’s Sorbonne University.

He is currently a professor of archaeology at Ain Shams University’s arts faculty.

Hatem Maher, Zeinab El Gundy, Sherry El-Gergawi and Ahmed Feteha contributed to this report

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