By Mohamed Adel ,Mohamed Ayyad , Abdel Razek Al-Shuwekhi and Abdel Qader Ramadan
Laila Iskander, from environment to urban development
As Minister of Environment, Iskander fought against the use of coal as an energy source
Laila Iskander was appointed as the Minister of Urban Development, a newly formed ministry. Iskander has served as the Minister of Environment following the ousting of former president Mohamed Morsi. She is a social entrepreneur who graduated from the faculty of economics and political sciences at Cairo University, before obtaining a master’s in teaching at UC Berkeley, California, and a doctorate in education at Columbia University, New York.
Iskandar is the chairperson of the Community and International Development Consulting (CID), which received an award for Social Entrepreneur of the Year from the Schwab Foundation at the 2006 World Economic Forum. The CID works on garbage collectors in Cairo.
During her term as environment minister, Iskander stood against the use of coal as a source of energy. In order to be “politically independent”, Egypt should not depend on foreign energy resources to meet its needs, Iskandar has previously said, adding that using coal will cause health problems for Egyptians after 30 years. When the cabinet approved the use of coal in April, Iskander confirmed to the Daily News Egypt that “coal will not be used unless it conforms to environmental standards”.
Minister of Environment: Khaled Fahmy
Khaled Fahmy will return as Minister of Environment in the new Ibrahim Mehleb cabinet. Fahmy assumed this position earlier in the first Hesham Qandil cabinet in 2012. Laila Iskander, environment minister in the previous cabinet, was removed from consideration as she is moving to the newly-created Ministry for Urban Development, which is concerned with issues involving the slums. Iskander notably had a hostile attitude towards the use of coal in industrial activities.
In his first comments to the media, Fahmy confirmed that he would be completing the plan to use coal, and that this issue would be a priority.
Cement factories have been demanding to use coal in generating energy after being exposed to major shortages in their supplies of gas. The demand was rejected by Iskander, but insisted upon by the rest of the cabinet, which ultimately issued a decision to adopt coal as an energy source. Factories are waiting for the new minister to begin implementing the decision and to develop the necessary regulations for the safe use of coal.
Khaled Mohamed Fahmy Abdel Aal was born in Cairo on 9 November 1953 and holds a PhD in environmental economics. He worked as a project manager for the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency in 1995. He served as deputy manager for a project on sustainable development in the south Red Sea from 2005 to 2009, deputy director for a project treating lead pollution sites in 2004 and 2005, and deputy director of a monitoring project to achieve environmental protection from 2000 to 2004, working throughout this period in cooperation with a number of governorates and ministries and with US funding.
In 2014, besides serving as a professor at the Institute of National Planning, Fahmy worked as a deputy on the Egyptian Decentralisation Initiative, a project carried out under the auspices of the Ministry of Local Development and with funding from the US government.
Medhat Istafanous, head of the Cement Division at the Federation of Egyptian Industries, said that cement factories are looking forward to cooperate with the new minister to reach an optimal solution for providing energy to factories to benefit industry, the environment and the economy, while maintaining the public interest.
“Factories are happy to see a person specialised in environmental administration and sustainable development. Meetings will be requested to meet with the minister immediately after they have finished putting their affairs in order,” said Istafanous.
Ihab Taher, general secretary of the Doctors Syndicate and a member of the Movement of Egyptians Against Coal, said: “We fear the return of the minister because he approves the use of coal. We will continue to reject its use outright by pressuring the media, the people, and the judiciary.”
Taher said that applying proper standards to prevent the negative effects of using coal will raise its price, and the cost of using it, greatly compared to other sources. The goal of factories in using it is to keep costs low, he said.
“We have asked the president to prevent the use of coal for the protection of the environment and the health of Egyptians and we will ask that of the new minister,” said Taher.
Minister of Aviation: Hossam Kamal
Pilot Hossam Kamal has been named the new minister of aviation in the second Mehleb government. Kamal is a Boeing 777 pilot who has remained active as part of his work schedule even now as minister.
Facing Kamal, who held his latest position for less than six months, is the EgyptAir file. He will be working to restore it to its position as a regional leader and transform its losses, exceeding EGP 8bn, to profits.
Kamal comes from within the ministry and is someone who knows all the ins-and-outs of EgyptAir. He served as both vice president and then, since December 2013, president of the EgyptAir Holding Company.
The restructuring of EgyptAir currently stands as the most pressing issue for the minister, with the company facing urgent restructuring to make profits and increase its fleet, or face further deterioration.
Kamal will need to reconsider how to utilise older aircrafts. He faces the choice of either selling them to other countries, renting them to companies, or using them for air freight to preserve the value of the company’s capital.
There also remain problems in funding an increase to EgyptAir’s fleet. Kamal may resort to working with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in garnering support from friendly countries, especially Gulf states. Guarantees to global aircraft companies would be provided order to immediately start the process of aircraft replacement and renewal.
The guarantees will be in return for a strong plan ensuring the company achieves revenue growth of at least 20% and breaks even in terms of losses versus profits in less than 3 years.
A review of domestic ticket prices is also on the cards, with tickets between Cairo and Marsa Alam not exceeding EGP 1900, Sharm el-Sheikh no more than EGP 1600, and Aswan and Luxor no more than EGP 1500. These prices limit the ability of Egyptians to see their country and its tourism.
Running flights to tourist areas, especially during the holiday seasons, will increase the number of Egyptians who see their country, and will earn money for companies benefiting from increased turnout.
It is expected the capacity of several airports will be increased, including Cairo, Hurghada, Sharm el-Sheikh and the Borg Al-Arab in Alexandria. This would take the number of passengers who can be accommodated to 66 annually by 2016 as opposed to the current 38 million.
Kamal will be continuing the development of airports that began 10 years ago. Sharm Al-Sheikh and Hughada are among the top airports the ministry is exerting great efforts to raise the capacities of.
Cairo Airport and its surrounding area is also among the places that may see the most development in the coming period, as the ministry is looking to raise its capacity to more than 30 million passengers.
An Airport City area will be offered for investors in the coming period in order to attract $20bn in investments.
Kamal will also be looking to reduce congestion at the Cairo Airport, and will begin looking into the creation of an airport in 6th of October City. It is likely to be designated either for economic trips, air freight, economic, or tourism companies.
A cargo and freight village is another pressing file the minister will be dealing with. Establishing such a village represents a golden opportunity for the ministry to increase its revenues by providing modern equipment for inspection and shipping, and to open new routes to areas where there is demand for Egyptian food and industrial commodities whether in west or east Africa or Arab countries.
Minister of Transportation: Hany Dahi
Hany Dahi has been appointed Minister of Transportation to replace Ibrahim Demeiri in the new Ibrahim Mehleb government, although he has never worked in the transportation ministry.
Dahi has spent his ministerial life until now in the Ministry of Petroleum, having been nominated more than once in previous governments for the post of Minister of Petroleum. Dahi has gained a reputation as an important petroleum expert in Egypt.
The incoming minister faces a number of challenges in his new post, notably the need to comprehensively update public transportation services. He will also be faced with investigating bringing the ministry’s services into new cities, in addition to completing the implementation of new metro lines.
Dahi served as chairman of the Al-Saeed Contracting Company after retiring from the petroleum sector in January 2013 and his position as CEO of the Egyptian General Petroleum Company (GPC), a post he assumed in 2011.
Dahi has served as head of the Engineering for the Petroleum and Processing Industries (ENPPI), an Egyptian petroleum company of which EGPC owns a 97% share. Dahi also served previously as chairman of Petrojet.
Minster of Investment: Ashraf Salman
Ashraf Salman is Minister of Investment in Mehleb’s newly-formed cabinet, the first under President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. Salman is co-founder and CEO of Cairo Financial Holding, a private investment firm.
Salman, who has been a major player in private investment for 18 years, managing private investment funds for various individuals, will now turn his attention to government investments and managing government assets in the state-owned public business sector.
He worked as head of corporate finance and banking and investment services in the Arab African International Bank.
Prior to joining the Arab African International Bank, Salman’s experience included seven years in domestic and international financial markets. At Strategic Securities Group, Salman served as a general manager, a member of the board, and an executive committee member.
Salman led his team in a multitude of investment banking transactions, from managing syndicated loans, to issuing bonds, restructuring, conducting feasibility studies, and doing various financial consulting.
He also participated in preparing a programme for primary dealers on the stock exchange, a license for market makers and a central depository for Egyptian exchange.
The new minister is a board member of the Mortgage Finance Authority, the Investor Protection Fund, the Organization of American Finance (New York), and the Trading Committee on the Egyptian Stock Exchange.
As part of the Management Development Center for Industry, Salman helped the Public Enterprise Office in the privatisation program. Throughout this period, he was exposed to more than 200 restructuring processes and evaluations of public companies.
Salman holds a Master in Business Administration from the University of Birmingham, Alabama, United States, and is a Lead Assessor granted by SGS Yarsely, United Kingdom.
He has extensive experience in financial restructuring transactions and has accumulated 18 years of banking experience.
Minister of International Cooperation: Naglaa Al-Ahwani
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb assigned Naglaa Al-Ahwani as Minister of International Cooperation in the new cabinet, the first under President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.
Al-Ahwani worked as director of Mehleb’s office before the cabinet submitted its resignation following the presidential elections in May. She is a professor of economics at the Faculty of Economics and Political Science of Cairo University, and served as an economic adviser to former Prime Minister Essam Sharaf in 2011.
During all successive governments after Sharaf, including the cabinet of Hazem El-Beblawi, Al-Ahwani held her position as an economic adviser responsible for a commission to settle contract disputes between the state and businessmen. She was later appointed by Mehleb as director of his office in the previous government.
Al-Ahwani contributed to the coordination between ministries involved in investment disputes with private sector investors during her work as a representative of the prime minister in the settlement commission.
At the beginning of her career, Al-Ahwani worked as a research economist at the Arab Planning Institute in Kuwait as well as the Institute of Arab Research and Studies at the Arab League.
She served as executive director and chief economist at the Egyptian Centre for Economic Studies and director of the Centre for European Studies at Cairo University, in addition to her work as an economic adviser to the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, the office of the International Labour Organisation in Cairo, and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia.
Minister of Agriculture: Adel El-Beltagy
Dr Adel El-Beltagy was sworn in as Minister of Agriculture, succeeding former Minister Ayman Farid Abu Hadid. El-Beltagy was a member of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s campaign as an agriculture official.
El-Beltagy comes from a science background specialising in agriculture, and in 2007, he served as chairman of the Board of Agricultural Research. He holds a doctorate in plant physiology from the University of Wales where he has been a fellow since 1993.
During his tenure as Director General of the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) in Syria from 1995 to 2006, his main concerns focus on agriculture and arid lands. In 2006 he reshaped their research strategy to help them benefit from opportunities provided by modern scientific methods.
El-Beltagy has chaired the Global Forum for Agricultural Research since 2006 in addition to the International Drylands Development Council since 2003 and the Council of Agricultural Research and Development since 2007.
The positions he has held in the past and present include his membership in the Executive Council of the Consultative Group for International Agriculture Research, Board Member of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the Coordinating Committee of the European Action on Global Life Sciences, the High-Level Committee of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the Global Diversity Trust Fund, and the Council of the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS). He continues to hold these responsibilities today.