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Egypt chooses another technocrat as finance minister

Public finance professor specialising in Islamic finance is chosen to head Egypt's finance ministry following Cabinet reshuffle

Ahram Online, Sunday 6 Jan 2013
PM Qandil meeting with El-Morsi Hegazy
(Photo:Al-Ahram)
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Egypt's newly appointed finance minister is a renowned academic, a professor of public finance at Alexandria University, and the author of several books on Islamic finance which is his academic area of expertise.

El-Morsi El-Sayed Hegazy was nominated by Egypt's ruling Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafist El-Nour Party.

The incoming finance minister is a newcomer to Egypt's political scene, having no political background or involvement in public service during his career. He marks an extension to the post-revolutionary trend of technocratic policymaking as opposed to political decision-makers.    

Hegazy's most important academic contributions is his book entitled Islamic Banking and Finance, where he sets a framework for an "Islamic" economic system and "economic principles and social justice." He occasionally writes in the Islamist-leaning Almesryoon on topics revolving around social justice and fighting corruption.

In an article entitled, "The Social Cost of Corruption," Hegazy stipulates that "government intervention in economic affairs is the main cause of corruption," showcasing his leanings to a free-market economic system in line with the Cabinet's economic reform plan that was announced following the IMF loan deal.

In his first statement to the Egyptian media, Hegazy announced that he was ready to complete discussions with the IMF on a $4.8 billion loan designed to boost Egypt's struggling economy.

A senior IMF official is due to meet representatives of the Egyptian government Monday to resume talks on the postponed loan.

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