Egypt Shakes Up Cabinet, Appoints 10 Ministers

CAIRO (AP) -

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 before 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.