Sisi names 10 new ministers in Egypt cabinet reshuffle

Friday 18/03/2016
Egypt needs proper roadmap to move forward

CAIRO - President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday swore in 10 new ministers in a cabinet reshuffle, as Egypt struggles to revive an economy battered by falling tourism revenues and foreign investments.

The government shake-up -- mainly of economic portfolios -- comes just six months after Sisi inaugurated a new administration led by Prime Minister Sharif Ismail, following the resignation of the previous cabinet after a corruption scandal.

The ministers of tourism, finance, investment, justice, civil aviation, irrigation, human resource and antiquities were replaced, and a new ministry for public works was added to the cabinet.

"Ten new ministers were sworn in by the president today," Sisi's office said in a statement without giving a reason for the reshuffle. The new cabinet consists of 34 ministers.

The reshuffle comes as the economy continues to falter on the back of falling tourism revenues, a cornerstone of the economy, and foreign investments.

Tourism, hit by years of political turmoil since the ouster of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak in 2011, was dealt a body blow after a bomb brought down a Russian airliner over the Sinai Peninsula on October 31.

All 224 people on board, mostly Russian tourists, were killed in an attack claimed by the jihadist Islamic State group, which is spearheading an insurgency in the peninsula.

Revenues from tourism slumped 15 percent to $6.1 billion in 2015.

The shake-up also comes days after Egypt's central bank devalued the Egyptian pound as it faces an acute shortage of foreign currency inflows.

Egypt's foreign exchange reserves have fallen from more than $36 billion in 2010 to about $16 billion, despite roughly $20 billion given in aid to Cairo by its powerful Gulf allies.

The central bank said last week that the reserves would recover to $25 billion by the end of 2016, boosted by "foreign investments and an increase in the competitiveness of the Egyptian economy".