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Mali’s Keita reveals new cabinet

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.

Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. File photo: AFP. Credit: AFP

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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