Egyptian cabinet: The old, the new and the unknown

Bassem Abo al-Abass, Michael Gunn, Thursday 24 Feb 2011

Unknowns join familiar faces in the latest cabinet reshuffle; is Egypt primed for change or just more of the same?

Ahmed Shafik
Finance Minister Samir Radwan (R) speaks with Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik (C) and Interior Minister Mahmoud Wagdy (Photo: Reuters)

Tuesday morning brought the swearing in by the ruling military council of Egypt's latest cabinet . Nearly a dozen new members took seats alongside a mixture of veteran politicians and cabinet members appointed by Mubarak in his final days in a futile gesture at political reform.


Samir Youssef El-Sayad, Minister of Trade and Industry

El-Sayad is chairman and managing director of Pachin, one of Egypt's largest paint and chemical producers. He was formerly Egypt's cultural attache to London and the Dean of Helwan University's science faculty.

Pachin recently saw strikes by disgruntled employees demanding their temporary contracts be made permanent. El-Sayad's failure to meet protesters' demands and subsequent cabinet appointment has upset labour groups.

That aside, he is an unknown quantity. "I don't know anything about him, unlike Samiha Fawzy [the post-Mubarak temporary minister for trade] who was advisor to [ex-minister] Rachid for five years," said Ibrahim Al-Araby, chairman of the Cairo Chamber of Commerce.

Ismail Fahmi, Minister of Labour and Immigration

Fahmi was a member of the Union Committee for Egypt Air in the 1970s, later becoming its chairman. He is currently  vice-chairman of the Aviation Workers Syndicate and a member of the board of directors of Egypt Air Holding. He is also treasurer of the National Labour Union.

His brother was minister of the interior under President Gamal Abdel Nasser, according to Al-Akhbar, the state-run newspaper.
"He is a honest man and does not take any decisions without consultations," Abd El-Rahmaan Kheir, a member of the National Labour Union, told Ahram Online.

Ahmed Borey, head of the legislation section in the faculty of law at Al-Azhar University and a labour activist was a candidate for the post but was rejected for not being a member of a syndidate.

Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, Minister of Tourism

Abdel Nour is secretary-general of the Wafd Party and the first minister from an opposition party to hold a cabinet post for 30 years.

He is the founder of the Egyptian Finance Company and a member of the National Council for Human Rights. He also sits on the board of directors for the Egyptian Federation of Industries and the Egyptian Competition Authority.

His family has a long history of political involvement. Some are disturbed by his connections to the group of businessmen centred around Gamal Mubarak, such as Mohamed Farid Khamis, chairman of the Oriental Weavers Group, and Galal El Zorba, chairman of Nile Holding Co.

"The choice of Abdel Nour came from a political agreement between allies and opponents of the government system," says Magda Kandil, executive director of the Egyptian Centre for Economic Studies. "He knows how to deal with administration, is committed to orders and has great experience of economics."

Gouda Abdel-Khaliq, Minister of Social Solidarity

A leftist and professor of economics at Cairo University, Abdel-Khaliq resigned two weeks ago from the Al-Tagammu party and has been critical of social injustices arising from government policies.

Following the outbreak of Egypt's revolution on 25 January, he joined many Tagamo members in rallying against its leader, Refaat al-Said, who they accused of being an ally of Mubarak's regime and responsible for the deterioration of the party.

Abdel-Khaliq believes the party "has changed a lot in terms of its alignment, with many questions about the government's positions."

The eldest of a family of peasants from the small village of Daqahliya in northern Egypt, he received his PhD and Masters from Canada where he lived from 1968 till 1974.

Mahmoud Latif, Minister of Oil

Latif has held a number of leadership positions in Egypt's oil and energy sector. He has been the chairman of the Board of Directors at Badr al-Din Petroleum and president of both the General Petroleum Company and the Egypt Holding company for Natural Gas.

He also served as president of the Energy Observatory for the Mediterranean, a non-governmental organisation with 33 members worldwide, which aims to encourage global co-operation on energy and environmental issues.

Amr Ezzat Salama , Minister of Scientific Research

A graduate of civil engineering from Cairo University, Salama taught and conducted research at Helwan University, where he became dean in 2002. He held the cabinet post for higher education and research from July 2004 till December 2005.

Mohamed Abdel-Moneim El-Sawy, Minister of Culture

A graduate of the faculty of fine arts at Helwan University, he is the head of the El Sawy Culturewheel, which he founded in 2003. He also owns the Alamia advertising company which he started in 1980. He is the son of Abdel-Moneim El-Sawy, who was appointed to the same post in 1977.

Ahmed Gamal Eddin Moussa, Minister of Education

He held the post of Minister of Education from July 2004 til December 2005 and has been reappointed in the new cabinet.

Maged Osman, Minister of Communications and Information Technology

A former head of the Information and Decision Support Centre (IDSC), a think tank for the government, he was appointed to the position by ex-prime minister Ahmed Nazif.

Ashraf Hatem Mahmoud Ibrahim, Minister of Health and Population

A professor of chest medicine, he was appointed general director of Cairo university hospitals in 2005.

Mahmoud Latif Amer, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources

Amer graduated from Cairo University in 1974 with a degree in petroleum engineering, joining the Gulf of Suez Petroleum Company. He was later appointed assistant to the president of the Khalda company and in 1999 became vice-chairman of Egypt Natural Gas Holding. He is a key figure in implementing Egypt’s integrated gas strategy.



Samir Radwan, Minister of Finance

Appointed at the end of last month following Mubarak's last ditch cabinet reshuffle, Radwan is a renowned economist with liberal tendencies and a strong interest in employment and human development issues.

He held the post of advisor to the director general of policy development and the Arab countries within the International Labour Organization between October 2001 and September 2003.

Radwan has a PhD from London and joined the NDP a few years ago. In recent years he has been executive director of the Egyptian Council for Export and advisor to the Ministry of Investment prior to that. Radwan supports a minimum wage above the poverty line and is a strong advocate for a nationwide wage restructuring plan.

Fathi El-Baradei, Minister of Housing, Utilities and Urban Development

A professor of engineering at Ainshams University, El-Baradei was a member of parliament from 1995 to 2000 and appointed governor of Dumyat in 2004. Appointed by Mubarak during the protests, he has held his cabinet position.

Zahi Hawass, Minister of Antiquities Affairs

After studying archaeology in Alexandira, Hawass was the inspector of antiquities in various governates. He taugh Egyptian archaeology at the American University of Cairo as well as the University of California and was appointed secretary general for the Supreme Council of Antiquities in 2002. He was appointed by Mubarak in early 2011 and retains his position.

Abdullah El-Husseini, Minister of Awqaf (Islamic Endowments)

El-Husseini was appointed president of Al-Azhar University in 2010.

Mahmoud Wagdy, Minister of the Interior

Previously the assistant to the Minister of the Interior and director of the Prison Authority, Wagdy was also the head of Cairo's criminal investigations department.

Mohsin El-Numani, Minister of Local Development

Formerly a senior figure in the intelligence services, El-Numani was part of the negotiation team in Israel-Palestine peace talks. He was appointed governor of Sohag in 2008.

Ibrahim Manaa, Minister of Civil Aviation

Manna is president of the Holding Company for Airports.

Atef Abdel-Hamid, Minister of Transportation
Elected as a member of the board of directors of the Arab Organisation for Industrialisation, Abdel-Hamid became chairman of the EgyptAir Holding Company in 2003.

Hussein El-Atfy, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation

Appointed by Mubarak in late January, he retains his post.

Ayman Farid Abu Hadid, Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation

A former president of the Agricultural Research Center, he is an advocate of genetically-engineered crops. He was named in Mubarak's final spate of appointments.



Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, Minister of Defense and Military Production

Tantawi took part in the wars of 1956, 1976 and 1973 and has held various military commands. He also participated in the 1991 war against Iraq.

Tantawi was appointed to his current position as well as commander-in-chief of the Egyptian army in 1991. He is also the head of the Military Supreme Council, representing Egypt domestically and internationally.

Sayed Meshaal, Minister of State for Military Production

Meshaal acquired a Masters degree in military sciences and served in the 1956, 1967 and 1973 wars. He has held his current cabinet post since 1999 and was a NDP member of the People's Assembly from 2000 and the recent dissolution of parliament.

Hassan Younes, Minister of Electricity and Energy

Younis holds a PhD in electric power engineering. He was appointed the representative of the Egypt Electricity Authority in the US, moved to the National Energy Control Centre in 1979, and became the general director of Operation System in 1983.

In 1988 he was appointed inspector general of the National Energy Control and in 2001 became a board chairman of Electric Holding Company. He entered the cabinet in his current position later that year.

Fayza Abul-Naga, Minister of International Cooperation

Abul-Naga Joined the diplomatic corps in 1975, was appointed first secretary to Egypt's United Nations mission in 1979, and in 1984 became first secretary in the ministry of foreign affairs.

In 1991 she was appointed deputy prime minister for foreign relations and in 1999 became Egypt’s permanent UN representative in Geneva. She was appointed to her current post in 2001.

Ahmed Abul-Gheit, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Abul-Gheit joined the ministry in 1965 and has held a range of ambassadorial positions including in Italy and Macedonia. He was appointed to his current role in 2004 and in 2008 raised controversy in Egypt by blaming Hamas for Israel's attacks on Gaza.

Maged George, Minister of State for Environmental Affairs

An engineering graduate, George later studied military sciences. He became head of the army's Engineering Association in 2002 and took his current cabinet seat in the same year.

Mamdouh Marei, Minister of Justice

Marei is known for his disputes with the judiciary during the 2005 presidential elections. He was appointed president of the court of appeal in 2003 and head of the constitutional court in 2005, becoming minister in 2006.

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