Egypt appoints Hassan Abdalla as acting central bank governor

United Media Services' chairman replaces Tarek Amer, who unexpectedly resigned on Wednesday

Hassan Abdalla is chairman of state-owned conglomerate United Media Services and was previously managing director of Cairo-based Arab African International Bank. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Powered by automated translation

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has appointed Hassan Abdalla as acting governor of the central bank, state media reported on Thursday.

The president had accepted former governor Tarek Amer's resignation and appointed him as a presidential adviser on Wednesday.

In a note, Mr Amer said he resigned “to leave room for new blood to take responsibility and push forward Egypt’s successful development process under the leadership of the president”, according to state-run Al Ahram.

The bank's monetary policy committee will hold its fifth meeting of the year on Thursday.

Mr Abdalla is chairman of United Media Services (UMS), an Egyptian conglomerate owning several media outlets, and former managing director of the Arab African International Bank from 2002 until 2018.

He is also founder and chairman of Panther Associates, a financial advisory firm.

It is not known how long Mr Abdalla is likely to take the helm of the central bank. The House of Representatives is scheduled to open its new legislative season in October, and could vote on the president's decision for a new governor then.

The president appoints the central bank governor with the approval of the majority of parliament for a once-renewable four-year term, according to the Egyptian constitution.

Mr Amer was appointed to his post in November 2015. In 2019, Mr El Sisi renewed his tenure for four years.

The unusual changing of the guard before Mr Amer's term was complete comes at a difficult time for Egypt's economy. Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February, the Arab world's most populous country has struggled with soaring double-digit inflation, declining foreign currency reserves and a depreciating currency.

In March, Egypt devalued its pound by nearly 15 per cent. Since then, it has fallen to a near-record 19 pounds to the dollar.

The monetary policy committee raised interest rates at its March and May meetings by a combined 300 basis points, but kept rates steady in June.

The government has been seeking a new loan from the International Monetary Fund, which favours a more flexible exchange rate.

Updated: August 18, 2022, 3:09 PM