Congo’s President Sassou Nguesso Names Son Among New Government

The Republic of Congo’s President Denis Sassou Nguesso has chosen a new government that includes his son as well as an opposition leader.

The former government resigned earlier this month in a procedural move after Sassou Nguesso, one of the world’s longest-serving leaders, easily won a fifth term in a March election when his main opponent died of Covid-19 on polling day.

An official publication released on Saturday night states the new government has 36 members including four ministers and eight women.

The newly-created ministry of international cooperation and public-private partnerships will be headed by the President’s son Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso

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Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso is one of 11 newcomers to the administration.

The new government appointed Philosophy professor Honore Sayi, who had presided over Congo’s largest opposition group the Pan-African Union for Social Democracy as the energy minister.

Among the challenges the new government faces are making good on delayed payments for retirement pensions and scholarships for university students.

Other economic challenges include dealing with public debt, which stood at 87 percent of the country’s GDP in 2020 before the pandemic, and re-starting negotiations with the International Monetary Fund.

The Prime Minister Anatole Collinet Makosso, who was appointed on Wednesday after his predecessor submitted his government’s resignation on May 6, has been told to put the new team to work “without delay”.

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