IMF steering committee names Swedish finance minister as next chair

Swedish Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson and Minister for Financial Markets and Housing Per Bolund speak during a news conference in Stockholm

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday said its steering committee has chosen Swedish Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson as the panel’s chair, returning a European to the role for the first time in more than 12 years.

Andersson will be the first woman to chair the International Monetary and Financial Committee and will serve a three-year term effective Jan. 18, 2021, the IMF said. She succeeds Lesetja Kganyago, governor of the South African Reserve Bank.

The IMFC, a 24-member body made up of finance ministers and central bank governors representing member states, is the primary policy advisory body for the global crisis lender and normally meets twice a year at the IMF’s Spring Meetings and Annual Meetings.

In October, the committee said that broad debt relief and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines was crucial to avoiding “long-lasting scars” for the world’s poorest economies.

Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, the late former Italian finance minister, had chaired the IMFC briefly from October 2007 to May 2008 and was preceded in that role for about a decade by Gordon Brown, Britain’s former prime minister and finance minister.

Andersson has been Sweden’s finance minister since October 2014 and previously served in a number of senior government roles, She has served on the governing boards of a number of multilateral development banks, including the World Bank.

(Reporting by David Lawder, Editing by Nick Zieminski)