Sudan’s prime minister has appointed veteran Darfur rebel group leader Jibril Ibrahim as finance minister in a cabinet overhaul. The reshuffle comes as Hamdok struggles to push through reforms and secure foreign financing seen as crucial to easing a deep economic crisis and bolstering Sudan’s transition to democracy. A former economic advisor for JEM who became leader after his brother was killed in an airstrike, some Sudanese, as well as analysts, have questioned the expected appointment of a former Bashir ally and Islamist to a key ministry, particularly during an economic crisis. Hamdok, appointed following a military-civilian power-sharing deal after the overthrow of Omar al-Bashir, had led a cabinet of technocrats which has had an uneasy relationship with the military. Caretaker ministers have been in charge at seven ministries including the finance ministry since July. The new, expanded cabinet comes following a peace deal signed in October with some rebel groups. It was aimed at ending conflicts in Darfur and southern Sudan, awarded the groups posts in transitional institutions, and reset the clock on a 39-month transition to elections. Analysts say the peace deal and long-delayed appointments to transitional bodies are important steps, though the replacement of qualified technocrats with political figures could throw up new challenges.