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Africa largest economy

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari.

Story highlights

  • Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as president in May, but only named his cabinet this month
  • The relatively inexperienced Kemi Adeosun has been named finance minister, taking responsibility for the economy
  • Nigeria's economy is dependent on oil, and the crash in the price of crude has created a hole in the national budget

Buhari, who won elections in March on a platform of fighting corruption, inequality and militancy, has named a combination of technocrats, political allies and relative unknowns to his ministry. Among the key figures are:

Finance - Kemi Adeosun

Before her nomination to the cabinet, Kemi Adeosun - a former investment banker and UK-trained accountant - was working as the finance commissioner for Ogun State. Now she will oversee Africa's largest economy as finance minister, tasked with shoring up an economy that has struggled since the oil price crashed last year.

Power, Works and Housing - Babatunde Fashola

As the governor of Lagos State, which includes Nigeria's sprawling commercial capital, Babatunde Fashola attracted an international reputation through his attempts to manage the city's creaking infrastructure and high crime rates. As minister of power, works and housing, Fashola will oversee the infrastructure that Nigeria needs to grow - not least its perennially underpowered national grid.

Industry, Trade and Investment - Okechukwu Enelamah

Among many pundits 'Okey' Enelamah was a likely pick for finance minister. The former head of one of the continent's largest private equity companies, Enelamah has instead been handed the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment - a still vital portfolio in a country that needs to replace the revenues lost to the oil price crash. Bringing in foreign direct investment to Nigeria will mean improving the climate for business, and convincing investors spooked by the huge $5.2bn fine handed to the South African telecommunications company MTN.

Agriculture & Rural Development - Audu Ogbeh

Agriculture is the largest employer in Nigeria, and is the principal source of rural livelihoods. The sector had been moribund for decades, with high-priced imports replacing domestically-grown crops and rural poverty still endemic. Under the last government, the agriculture minister Akinwumi Adesina - now the president of the African Development Bank - the sector began a dramatic turnaround. The new incumbent at the ministry, Audu Ogbeh, is a political veteran and a commercial farmer.

Petroleum - Muhammadu Buhari

With oil sales making up 65% of the national budget, the Ministry of Petroleum is one of the most strategically important institutions in the country, overseeing the national oil company, as well as the expensive and complicated subsidies on fuel. Historically it has also been a center of corruption and political intrigue, and the president decided in September that he would run it directly from State House, a controversial move that supporters say allows him to maintain a close grip on an errant ministry; and one that opponents say allows him to concentrate power in the executive. Ibe Kachikwu, a former oil executive, has now been named minister of state, running the day-to-day operations of the ministry, but it is Buhari who will have the final say.

Foreign Affairs - Geoffrey Onyeama

A graduate of Columbia, Cambridge and the London School of Economics, Geoffrey Onyeama has worked extensively in international development with the UN and other organisations. Most recently the deputy director of the World Intellectual Property Organisation, Onyeama will have a crucial role in coordinating the regional response to Boko Haram, the Islamist militant group that has spread from northern Nigeria into Cameroon and Niger.

Defence - Muhammad Mansur Dan-Ali

A retired brigadier-general and career soldier, Muhammad Mansur Dan-Ali, will be charged with managing Nigeria's armed forces - once among the largest and most effective armies on the continent, their reputation has been damaged by their long struggle against Boko Haram and by what many - including the president - see as widespread corruption.

Interior - Abdulrahman Dambazau

Widely tipped to be the National Security Advisor to the president, retired general Abdulrahman Dambazau was a surprise appointment to the interior ministry. He faces a complex task of improving police and internal security services that have been widely criticized for human rights and governance failings, as well as contributing to the fight against Boko Haram and militancy in other areas of the country.

See also:
Africa economy: Nigeria overtakes South Africa as
Africa economy: Nigeria overtakes South Africa as ...
South Africa: An economy under threat?
South Africa: An economy under threat?
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