CAIRO: Egyptian Minister of Investment Mahmoud Mohieldin accepted the appointment as managing director of the World Bank on Sept. 8 and will assume his new post in October.
Meanwhile, the ruling National Democratic Party has commissioned a committee to find a replacement for the minister in the Egyptian cabinet. Front-runners in the search so far are Ziad Bahaa Eddin, chairman of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA), and Samir Radwan, a former consultant to the International Labor Organization and current consultant to EFSA.
Mohieldin was nominated for the WB post two months ago and only accepted it after President Hosni Mubarak’s approval. The president’s consent was accompanied by praise for Mohieldin’s accomplishments during his tenure as minister.
Under his leadership, the ministry saw the establishment of over 37,000 new companies in Egypt along with the influx of foreign direct investments to the tune of LE 140 billion.
Mohieldin’s new position in the World Bank has been welcomed as an opportunity for Egypt to have a more active role on the international scene.
Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif said this nomination would increase cooperation between Egypt and the WB in financing joint projects. It would aid in the implementation of WB programs in Egypt dealing with financial sector reform and the financing of other infrastructure projects including airports and sea ports and human development programs, he added.
“Mahmoud Mohieldin has proven himself a tireless reformer whose work on economic and financial reform helped Egypt weather the global financial crisis,” said World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick in a statement
“An outstanding young leader, his first hand experience of development and of the World Bank — both as minister and as World Bank governor — will serve us well as we undertake our own reform program and scale-up our client focus,” Zoellick added.
The statement explained that in his role as managing director, Mohieldin will oversee the offices leading the Bank’s knowledge development, including: Finance and Private Sector Development; Sustainable Development; Poverty Reduction and Economic Management; Human Development; and the World Bank Institute.
Hala Abu Ali, associate professor at Cairo University, commented that even though the minister had political aspirations, the lack of political stability in Egypt meant that it is better for his career to accept the new job.
Yet this international experience will not only be better for his career but can be potentially good for Egypt’s future, she argued, citing his “patriotism” which would eventually lead him back to Egypt to assume another ministerial role or maybe even the role of prime minister.
Furthermore, the appointment has been viewed as recognition of the Egyptian government’s economic reforms, in which Mohieldin played a significant part in recent years, she said.
“He is definitely qualified for the new World Bank job. Senior World Bank positions require a screening process that is very competitive and one must have the necessary qualifications to be accepted,” she added. –Additional reporting by Yara Enany.