New Kuwait Cabinet Appoints Gulf’s First Female Finance Minister

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Kuwait appointed Mariam Al-Aqeel as the finance minister, the first female in the Gulf region to hold the post.

Khaled Al-Fadhel retained his posts as the minister overseeing oil, electricity and water in Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah’s first cabinet, which includes three women and eight new faces, according to state-run KUNA news agency.

As finance minister, Al-Aqeel automatically heads the country’s sovereign wealth fund, Kuwait Investment Authority.

The cabinet is expected to serve for less than a year since Kuwait is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections in 2020. The country has witnessed tumultuous relations between the elected legislature and the government appointed by the country’s hereditary emir. This is the eighth cabinet in as many years.

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Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah was named the minister of foreign affairs. He’s the son of former Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah, who was forced out of office in 2011 by opposition-led protests calling for his ouster.

Sheikh Ahmad Mansour Al-Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah became defence minister, while Anas Al-Saleh was appointed interior minister, a portfolio usually filled by a member of the ruling Al-Sabah family.

Kuwait, home to about 6% of the world’s oil reserves, is the fourth-biggest producer in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The International Monetary Fund expects its economy to grow 0.6% this year, squeezed by a reduction in oil output as part of an OPEC agreement.

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