Cabinet reshuffle steadies the boat

05 November 2004
The first cabinet reshuffle in seven years was announced on 2 November, just hours before the federation was rocked by the news that UAE President and Abu Dhabi Ruler Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan had died (see Cover Story). The new government sees significant changes, with the creation of an Energy Ministry and the appointment of the first woman to the cabinet. Several other ministries have also been amalgamated with a view to reducing bureaucracy and government red tape.

In one of the most significant developments, the Petroleum & Mineral Resources Ministry was merged with the Ministry of Electricity & Water to form the new Energy Ministry. Mohammed bin Dhaen al-Hamli was appointed to head the new ministry. Although new to government, Al-Hamli is an experienced oil technocrat, having been the UAE's governor at OPEC from 1994-2002, chairman of National Gas & Shipping Companyand a board member of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).

The Economy & Commerce Ministry was also merged with the Planning Ministry to create the Ministry of Economy & Planning. The new entity is headed by Sheikha Lubna al-Qassimi, the UAE's first female cabinet minister and former managing director of online trading company, Tejari.com.

The newly created Supreme Council and GCC Affairs Ministry, under Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan al-Qassimi, becomes the first department within the Gulf designed specifically to further regional economic integration.

Elsewhere, the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed will be strengthened by the appointment of two of his sons to the cabinet. Sheikh Saif bin Zayed al-Nahyan becomes interior minister, while Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan was appointed presidential affairs minister. Other appointments included Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak al-Nahyan as education minister and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak al-Nahyan as public works minister.

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