By Mohammed Ayyad
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb is slated to choose from two top candidates for the position of the new Minister of Investment, with the decision to be announced Monday morning, according to a cabinet source.
Among the top two candidates are Ashraf Salman, CEO of Cairo Financial Holding; Mustafa Abdel-Wadood, CEO of Abraaj Capital.
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb has finalised plans for the new government’s formation, to be sworn in before President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi Monday morning, with just a few ministerial posts yet to be confirmed.
An adviser to the prime minister, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that Mehleb had met with Salman last week and discussed the latter’s vision for developing the investment and business. The cabinet source added that Salman had received an offer and accepted it, but confirmation is pending.
“It is likely that Ashraf Salman is going to be appointed as minister of investment, as he expressed his approval during his meeting with the prime minister,” said the source. “This is especially the case, as according to those close to him, Abdel-Wadood is leaning towards informing the prime minster that he does not want a government position.”
Mehleb met with Abdel-Wadood on Saturday, according to the cabinet source.
Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, Minister of Commerce and Industry, mentioned in previous press statements that Mehleb assigned him as a deputy to the prime minister on economic affairs, and he had agreed.
Abdel Nour also affirmed that the Ministry of Investment, along with its public sector companies, has been separated from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Ibrahim Ashmawy, the former assistant to the Ministry of Investment, had been considered for the investment minister position, but had been ruled out as a candidate in order to lead the newly separated ministry.
The new Ministry of Investment comes at a time when Egypt suffers from a troubled economy hurt by high inflation, unemployment, and slow growth. The government is also seeking new resources after the reduction in tourist numbers and foreign investors amidst political and security turmoil.
The new Ministry of Investment will also have to tackle structural problems, notably in the public business sector, which has seen significant losses since the 2011 revolution.
Amani El-Torgoman, CEO of Travco, and Mahmoud El-Kaissouni, the current adviser to the Minister of Tourism, have been mentioned for the post of tourism minister.