DUBAI (Reuters) – Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly’s cabinet is set for a long-awaited reshuffle, local media reported, with changes including new finance and foreign ministers expected to be sworn in on Wednesday.

The new government faces challenges including the Gaza war on its border, economic woes and persistent power cuts which have frustrated Egyptians and shut down some factories.

State television reported that Ahmed Kouchouk is set to become finance minister and faces perhaps the biggest challenge in managing a stumbling economy and sky-rocketing debt.

At the foreign ministry, state TV citing local channel ExtraNews reported that Egypt’s ambassador to the European Union Badr Abdelatty would replace Sameh Shoukry, who has steered the country’s diplomatic efforts to negotiate between Palestinian militant group Hamas and Israel in their almost nine-month war.

Karim Badawi will be appointed as petroleum minister and Mahmoud Esmat as electricity minister, Egypt’s ExtraNews reported.

Rania al-Mashat, former minister of international cooperation, will be re-appointed as minister for planning, economic development and international cooperation, the outlet said.

Sherif Farouk, chairman of Egypt Post, is set to take over at the supply ministry, media reports said.

Egypt has often been the world’s biggest wheat importer and Farouk would be tasked with overseeing those purchases as well as a sprawling food subsidy programme which feeds more than 60 million people.

Ministers in Egypt have limited decision-making authority, with real power residing with the presidency, military and security services.

As Egypt tried to manage a chronic foreign exchange shortage and high inflation over the past two years, there had been speculation that Madbouly himself could be replaced.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi directed the new government to focus on lowering inflation and regulating markets as well as attracting and increasing local and foreign investments.

Earlier this year, the country signed a record investment agreement with the United Arab Emirates and international funding deals including an expanded loan programme with the IMF.

(Reporting by Clauda Tanios and Tala Ramadan; writing by Nadine Awadalla and Michael Georgy; editing by Jacqueline Wong, Miral Fahmy and Louise Heavens)

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