Egypt's ex-fin min Boutros-Ghali quits IMF panel

Reuters, Saturday 5 Feb 2011

Youssef Boutros-Ghali, who was replaced as Egypt's finance minister in a cabinet shake-up this week amid violent protests to topple President Hosni Mubarak, resigned on Friday as head of the International Monetary Fund's main policy steering panel, the fund said.

Boutros-Ghali could have continued as chair of the IMF's International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) even though he is no longer Egypt's finance minister, but the IMF said he had resigned with immediate effect.

The IMFC is comprised of finance ministers and central bankers from 24 countries and is the main advisory body to the fund's member countries.

He was the first finance minister from a large developing country to chair the IMFC at a time that emerging market economies pushed for greater say in the global institution.

He had chaired the panel since October 2008 at a time when the global financial crisis swept across the world and the IMF stepped in to provide rescue loans to countries including Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, Iceland, Greece and Ireland.

In Egypt, Boutros-Ghali has been replaced as finance minister by Samir Radwan, a former senior economist at the International Labour Organisation, the U.N. agency that oversees labor standards.

The IMF said in a statement it would immediately begin the process of selecting a new IMFC chair, which will be determined in a vote by the fund's 187 member countries. The committee officially meets twice a year -- in April and in the fall.

IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn noted that under Boutros-Ghali's leadership, the IMFC helped to modernize the fund that has seen emerging market economies like China, India, South Korea and Brazil win a bigger voice through more voting power.

"The IMF has gone through a significant transformation, making it stronger and better positioned to serve its universal membership," Strauss-Kahn said.

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