IMF picks Egyptian finance minister as chief

IMF picks Egyptian finance minister as chief

Washington: The policy-steering committee of the International Monetary Fund has elected Egyptian Finance Minister Youssef Boutros Ghali as its chairman, the first to come from the emerging market or developing countries who have been pushing for more influence in the 185-nation organization.

He won in a consensus vote Friday after Indian Finance Minister Palaniappan Chadambaram dropped out. Normally the post has been held by a European although one chairman in the 1980s was a Canadian.

Boutros Ghali succeeds Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, Italy’s former minister of economy and finance, who resigned in May 2008 after his party lost an election.

Boutros Ghali, nephew of former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali, will preside over his first International Monetary and Financial Committee meeting on Saturday, which is expected to focus on the global financial crisis. The committee meets twice a year and provides guidance to the IMF’s 24-member executive board, which handles day-to-day operations.

Boutros Ghali is a former member of the IMF staff, who was Egypt’s chief negotiator for reform programs with the IMF in the late 1980s and 1990s. He is a nephew of former Boutros Boutros-Ghali, a former secretary-general of the United Nations.

China, Brazil and India among other countries with rapidly growing economies have been seeking a greater role in the IMF that reflects their increasing influence on the global economy. At its meeting in April the IMF agreed to increase slightly he voting rights for some of those countries.