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Fri Aug 29 01:18:19 SAST 2014

Manuel could be in running for top IMF job

Janice Roberts | 16 May, 2011 23:250 Comments
Trevor Manuel Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

It was only in the early hours of Sunday morning that the chief of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was charged with sexual assault in New York City.

Yet already attention is turning to who will take over from him at the IMF because the incident will probably end his career at the Washington-based organisation.

One of the names in the hat is Trevor Manuel, South Africa's former finance minister and presently Minister in the Presidency and head of the National Planning Commission.

"I'm getting barraged by questions about Trevor Manuel. He has been raised as a potential MD for at least the past six years or more, and now could be his time," Peter Attard Montalto, director and emerging markets economist at Nomura International, said yesterday.

"The trouble is that before we even start to consider him, we have to get over the question of whether or not Europe will relinquish default 'control' of the appointment of the top slot," he said.

Manuel is not the only possible contender from an emerging market country. No doubt India will push S Sridhar, the head of the Central Bank of India, for the position. Another name in contention is Montek Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of India's planning commission.

Yet another contender would be Kemal Dervis, former head of the UN Development Programme, who is Turkish. And then there is Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister. But four out of 10 IMF bosses have already come from France.

Attard Montalto said Manuel taking the position seemed to be more likely for a number of reasons.

"He used to chair the IMF development committee and also chaired the recent IMF governance reform inquiry.

"Manuel has been under-utilised in his current job as Minister in the Presidency and head of the National Planning Commission. His profile has certainly shrunk domestically."

Mike Schussler, director of economists.co.za, said it was likely that Strauss-Kahn would be replaced.

"I think he will now have a difficult time getting rid of the allegations."

Manuel's spokesman, Dumisa Jele, said: "We have no comment on this matter." - I-Net Bridge

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