South Africa’s Manuel Seeks Open Process for IMF Top Job

South Africa’s former finance minister, Trevor Manuel, named as a possible candidate to lead the International Monetary Fund, called for an open process to select a new managing director of the institution.

“Africa will also have to have a voice,” Dumisa Jele, the spokesman for the head of South Africa’s National Planning Commission, said by phone from Pretoria, confirming Manuel’s comments reported by state-owned South African Broadcasting Corp. The post shouldn’t be reserved for a European, Jele cited Manuel as saying.

Europeans have picked IMF heads since its founding at the end of World War II under an agreement that gives the U.S. control over the top World Bank post. The No. 2 person at the IMF has traditionally been chosen by the U.S. Officials in Thailand, Russia and South Africa want the next managing director to come from a developing nation even as they failed to unite behind one candidate.

“It has to be wrong for multi lateral bodies to have recruitment processes where birth right is more important than ability,” Manuel said, according to the SABC on its website. “The old order has to pass.”

Manuel can’t personally apply for the job as the selection process doesn’t allow for individual applications, Jele said. Candidates for the position may be nominated by any of the institution’s 187 member nations, after which the board selects a shortlist of three.

Europe Bailouts

European Union nations have given overwhelming support to French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde to head the Washington-based IMF, the institution that approved a record $91.7 billion in emergency loans last year and provides a third of the euro-area’s bailouts.

The IMF aims to complete the selection of a successor to Dominique Strauss-Kahn by June 30. Countries will be able to nominate candidates until June 10, the IMF said in a statement on May 20.

The IMF said the board’s objective is to select the managing director by consensus from the shortlist. Nations have weighted votes, with the U.S. holding almost 17 percent of the total.

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