by Bassey Udo
Nigeria’s former finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was on Friday named a member of the External Advisory Group constituted by the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva.
The group of prominent individuals from around the world are to serve as the IMF chief’s special advisers that would provide insights to enhance the fund’s ability to serve its membership.
They consist mainly of high-level technocrats and policy experts with private sector experience.
The new external advisory group, inaugurated on Friday in Washington DC, is to also provide perspectives from around the globe on key developments and policy issues.
The issues include responses to the exceptional challenges the world now faces due to the novel coronavirus and its economic impact on member countries.
“Even before the spread of Covid-19 and the dramatic health, economic, and financial disruptions it has brought, IMF members confronted a rapidly evolving world and complex policy issues,” the IMF boss, Ms Georgieva, said.
“To serve our membership well in this context, we need top-notch input and expertise from the widest range of sources, inside and outside the Fund.
“Toward this end, I am proud that an exceptional and diverse group of eminent individuals with high-level policy, market, and private sector experience has agreed to serve on my External Advisory Group.
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“Today, we had a dynamic discussion to gain their insights, and to receive informal reactions to our ideas and approaches,” she added.
Apart from Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, who is also a former Vice President of the World Bank, other members of the advisory group include a Senior Minister of Singapore and Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, and a Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Kristin Forbes.
Others are former Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd; former United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Mark Brown; Honorary Chair, DSM and former CEO, Royal DSM, Feike Sijbesima; a Professor, University of Chicago, Raghuram Rajan; Group Executive Chairman, Santander, Ana Botín, and a Professor at Harvard University, Carmen Reinhart.
The Chief Economic Adviser, Allianz, Mohamed El-Erian; the Chief Investment Officer and head of Guggenheim Investments, Scott Minerd, and the Chair of ActionAid International, Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, are also members.
The advisory group will be meeting a few times a year with the IMF’s Managing Director, Deputy Managing Directors, and a sub-set of IMF department directors to discuss policy issues affecting member countries.