Mali’s Keita reveals new cabinet

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iol pic afr mali keita0 AFP Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. File photo: AFP

Bamako - Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on Sunday revealed his new cabinet, tasked with reviving the West African nation following a turbulent 18 months that saw a coup and a rebellion plunge the gold exporter into crisis.

The announcement of the make-up of the 34-member cabinet on state television follows the nomination of Oumar Tatam Ly, a technocrat and senior official with the regional BCEAO central bank, as prime minister last week.

Keita, who pledged to put technical competence ahead of party affiliation, included only one of the 22 first-round presidential candidates who supported him in the August 11 run-off which he won with 78 percent of the vote.

Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga was named defence minister, having held the position under President Alpha Oumar Konare. Bouare Fily Sissoko, a former World Bank official, will serve as finance minister. And Zahaby Ould Sidy Mohamed, an Arab from the north and senior figure in a 1990s rebellion, was named foreign minister.

Boubou Cisse, a World Bank economist, will head Mali's mine's ministry.

Mali was long praised for its stability while other West Africa states were embroiled in civil wars or post-election violence.

But last year's troubles led former colonial master France to deploy thousands of troops to fight al-Qaeda-linked rebels, underscoring the weakness of a democracy long undermined by corruption, nepotism and the lack of real opposition.

The cabinet announced on Sunday replaces a transitional authority established to lead Mali to presidential elections seen as a necessary step to restoring democratic order and unlocking billions of dollars in foreign aid.

Keita retained a number of ministers from the transitional body.

Two of them - Territorial Administration Minister Moussa Sinko Coulibaly and Transport Minister Abdoulaye Koumare - were part of a military junta that overthrew President Amadou Toumani Toure in March last year.

The coup allowed the rebels to launch a lightning advance and seize the desert north. - Reuters



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