Egypt shuffles Cabinet, appoints 1st female governor

Cairo  Egypt swore in nine new ministers to the cabinet of Prime Minister Sherif Ismail on Thursday, along with five new governors, including the country's first female governor.

The new ministers set to join the government are to oversee agriculture, parliamentary affairs, investment and international cooperation, trade, local development, planning, education, higher education and transport.

Nadia Saleh was also sworn in by President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi as governor of the Nile Delta province of Beheira, where she has served as deputy governor since 2013.

Saleh, who trained as an engineer, is the first woman to serve as governor in Egypt.

The appointment of a woman as a governor sharply contrasts with Egypt's tradition of naming retired military or police as governors, particularly those with international borders.

Thursday's Cabinet reshuffle has been in the making for close to two weeks with Ismail, the prime minister, widely quoted as saying that he had faced difficulties finding candidates willing to leave lucrative private sector jobs to serve in his Cabinet.

The reshuffle also included the merging of several portfolios and comes as Egypt struggles with an ongoing economic crisis brought about by years of turmoil following a 2011 popular uprising.

A package of economic reforms introduced last year to secure a $12bn IMF loan has sparked a steep rise in the price of basic and key commodities as well as services, with the Egyptian pound losing half of its value against the US dollar.

The annual inflation rate for January stood at nearly 30%.

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