South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has brought the numbers of women appointed in his new cabinet up to 50 percent a first for Africa’s second-biggest economy.

“For the first time in the history of our country, half of all ministers are women,” the 66-year-old leader said in a televised address on Wednesday in capital Johannesburg.

Ramaphosa said he reduced the number of ministers to 28 from 36 by combining a number of posts in a bid to cut spending, promote greater coherence and improve efficiency.

“All South Africans are acutely aware of the great economic difficulties our country has been experiencing and the constraints this has placed on public finances,” he said.

He said he “placed priority on revitalising the economy while exercising the greatest care in the use of public funds”.

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