Date of Birth: February 1952
Time of Birth:
Place of Birth: Giza
Essam Sharaf, born in Giza in 1952, was an Egyptian politician and civil engineer. He earned his BSc in civil engineering from Cairo University in 1975 and pursued further studies at Purdue University, obtaining his MSc Eng in 1980 and his PhD in 1984.
Sharaf's career began with academic positions, including a stint as a visiting assistant professor at Purdue and later as an assistant professor of highway and traffic engineering at Cairo University. He held various roles, such as serving as an assistant professor of civil engineering at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia and becoming a professor of highway engineering at Cairo University in 1996. Throughout his career, he had advisory roles, including being a senior advisor for the transportation and aviation department in Zuhair Fayez Partnership (ZFP) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
He was a member of the National Democratic Party, serving as the Egyptian minister of transportation from July 13, 2004, to December 31, 2005. Sharaf resigned due to disagreements with Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, particularly regarding state control over the Egypt Engineers Association.
After leaving politics, Sharaf returned to academia and became a vocal critic of the Mubarak regime's handling of Egypt's public transportation infrastructure. He also served as an advisor to Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority and co-established the Egypt Scientific Society with figures like Mohamed ElBaradei and Ahmed Zewail.
During the 2011 Revolution, Sharaf actively participated in the Tahrir Square protests, leading to his appointment by Egypt's governing military council as prime minister on March 3, 2011, following Ahmed Shafik's resignation. Sharaf's premiership marked the first post-revolution leadership in Egypt.
His term was characterized by initial popular support, with actions like removing unpopular cabinet members and enacting policies that gained public approval. However, he faced challenges related to security issues, reforming the security apparatus, sectarian violence, and addressing workers' grievances. As time progressed, it became evident that executive power resided with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), and Sharaf's leadership was viewed as having a ceremonial role.
Despite challenges, Sharaf's government made efforts in policy reforms, including security, media, social, and financial reforms. He created a deputy foreign minister for African affairs to enhance cooperation with African countries, and his diplomatic efforts included visits to Ethiopia and Sudan.
The escalating violence during his term, especially the Maspiro Incident and clashes with protesters, contributed to a loss of public confidence. Sharaf faced criticism for his handling of these incidents, and his resignation was submitted on November 21, 2011, accepted the next day, with his cabinet continuing in a caretaker capacity until the appointment of his successor, Kamal Ganzouri.
Essam Sharaf has been noted for his strong opposition to the normalization of ties with Israel, considering the resolution of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict a prerequisite to cooperation between the two states.
Throughout his career, Sharaf received several awards and honors, including the State Encouragemental Prize in Engineering Sciences, First Class Medal of Excellence from President Hosni Mubarak, and the Man of the Year Award (Rafiq Hariri Award), among others. He became a Member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2020.