Egypt’s Minister of Emigration and Egyptian Expatriate Affairs Nabila Makram is set to be replaced in a surprise cabinet reshuffle.
In a statement on Facebook, shared by Cairo24, Makram confirmed the reshuffle, stating that it had been an honor to serve the Egyptian people for the past seven years.
Makram, one of the current government’s longest-serving ministers, was appointed Egypt’s Minister of Emigration and Egyptian Expatriate Affairs in September 2015. At the time, the Ministry of Emigration and Egyptian Expatriate Affairs was brand new: two decades earlier was the last time a ministry of the sorts had existed.
“I did not have staff or a budget, nothing whatsoever,” said Makram in an interview with Egyptian Streets in 2017.
“I had to build a ministry from scratch. In the meantime, I also had to prove to Egyptian expatriates that this Ministry would not be honorary like before.”
Since 2015, Makram’s Ministry has been at the forefront of change in relation to the relationship between Egyptians abroad and Egypt. Initiatives launched by the Ministry included Etkallem Arabi (Speak Arabic), seven editions of the ‘EgyptCan’ conference, the Ministry of Emigration Dialogue Center for Egyptian Students Abroad, the first-ever international insurance policy for Egyptians living abroad, an initiative to solve family disputes for Egyptians living abroad, an initiative to support Egyptians living abroad to invest in Egypt and more.
Makram also organised various trips for second and third generation Egyptians to visit Egypt – many of whom had never visited the country before. Makram also bolstered support for Egyptians in need abroad, including those who have been victims of crime or who have been displaced as a result of conflict.
Working with various partners, Makram also raised awareness about the dangers of illegal immigration. To support Egyptians looking to migrate abroad, the Ministry of Emigration worked with the likes of the International Organization for Migration to ensure such Egyptians are better prepared. For example, working with Germany’s GIZ, the Ministry of Emigration and Egyptian Expatriate Affairs provides various training courses and employment opportunities through the Egyptian-German Center for Jobs, Migration, and Reintegration.
Despite leading a number of key initiatives aimed at connecting Egyptians living abroad with their homeland, Makram was expected to be replaced after her son was charged with murder earlier this year.
Makram’s 26-year-old son Ramy Fahim was arrested in April 2022 as a suspect in a double homicide in Anaheim, California. Following news of his arrest, Makram stressed that her ability to carry out her responsibilities as a Minister has not been compromised. News reports following her son’s arrest reported that he suffered from mental health issues, including schizophrenia.
In the months following news of the arrest, Makram, in collaboration with Shezlong, an online psychotherapy platform, launched Etkalem Matkhafsh (Speak up, don’t worry): an initiative that aims to offer mental health support to Egyptian youth living abroad.
The new Minister of Emigration and Egyptian Expatriate Affairs has not been announced as at the time of publication.