Egypt's Morsi adds more Brothers to his cabinet
The Cabinet shake-up aimed at improving the government's approach to Egypt's wounded economy.
Egypt swore in 10 new ministers on Sunday in a Cabinet shake-up aimed at improving the government's handling of the country's ailing economy ahead of talks this week with the International Monetary Fund over a badly needed $4.8 billion loan.
The reshuffle, which President Mohammed Morsi had promised in response to public anger over Egypt's economic malaise, affected two key ministries, the interior and finance. It also solidified Islamist control of the government, putting three portfolios in the hands of members of the president's Muslim Brotherhood.
The dire state of Egypt's economy was punctuated Sunday by new central bank figures that put December's foreign currency reserves at $15.01 billion, down $26 million from a month earlier. The reserves have dropped by more than half since the uprising that ousted longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.
The central bank said last month that current reserve levels represent a "critical minimum."
Morsi met with the new ministers after their swearing-in ceremony at the presidential palace in Cairo where they discussed ways to revive tourism and attract foreign investors, a presidential official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.
Stabilization is job No. 1
Prime Minister Hesham Kandil, meanwhile, said he stressed in his first meeting with the new ministers the need for immediate action to stabilize the economy.
At the heart of those efforts lies the $4.8 billion loan that Egypt has requested from the IMF. Cairo says the funds are needed to bolster confidence in the country's economy and attract foreign investors.