Egypt over the past two years has sought to secure a loan from the International Money Fund worth $4.8 billion. The loan is seen as vital for boosting investor confidence, staving off a financial crisis, and supporting the Egyptian pound, which fell to its lowest level since 2004.
Four successive finance ministers have led talks with the IMF. The first was Samir Radwan who was appointed by ousted president Hosni Mubarak at the end of January 2011 and he resigned in July of the same year.
During Radwan’s service, the then ruling military council suspended loan talks with the IMF.
The second finance minister was Hazem el-Beblawi who served between July and October 2011 under Essam Sharaf’s government. Beblawi tried to revive talks with the IMF and sought borrowing from Arab countries.
The third minister was Mumtaz al-Said. He was appointed in the government of Kamal Ganzouri in December 2011 and continued through the government of the current Prime Minister Hisham Qandil. He was replaced on Sunday by El-Morsi Hegazy in a Cabinet reshuffle by President Mohamed Mursi.
Egyptian media reports described Hegazy as being close to the Muslim Brotherhood, an assessment shared by a colleague speaking privately. A spokesman for the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party denied reports that he was a member of the Brotherhood.
Hegazy obtained a master’s degree in economics from Alexandria University in 1976 and a doctorate in 1985 from the University of Connecticut in the United States, according to a copy of his CV provided by Alexandria University. His doctoral research was on how oil contributed to Kuwait’s economic growth.
At the time of his appointment, Hegazy was working as a professor at Alexandria University’s Faculty of Commerce, specializing in public finance. From 1990 to 1996, he worked at Saudi Arabia’s King Saud University, heading its department of economics from 1995 to 1996.
His academic work includes studies on privatization, the World Trade Organization and fiscal systems, including a publication entitled “The Islamic Fiscal System.”
His CV lists two dozen works on Islamic economics that he either researched or reviewed. These include one on “Forms of Islamic finance and dealing with budget deficits in the Islamic environment.”