Central bank governor of the year 2001: Tito Mboweni, governor of the South African Reserve Bank
After two years in the job, the South African Reserve Bank’s governor Tito Mboweni has earned the respect and admiration of his peers and market players. His biggest success has been in bringing inflation under control.
Keeping control over the economy in post-apartheid South Africa is not an easy job. After decades of white minority rule, when the privileged few prospered on the back of the country's extensive natural wealth, the sudden change to fully-fledged democracy and the rising expectations of millions of newly-enfranchised citizens could well have led to instability. Like so many of its neighbours, South Africa could have been faced with internal strife, new social divisions and new forms of exploitation. That the new republic has come through its early years in pretty good health speaks volumes for those who took up the reins of power, and none more so than Tito Mboweni, governor of the South African Reserve Bank.
When Mboweni took office in 1999, the outlook for South Africa was not encouraging. With the rand in free fall and price stability a distant dream, the economy could easily have deteriorated still further. But, recent disputes over privatization notwithstanding, Mboweni has brought all his skill and experience to bear to halt the slide and guide the nation on to a smoother course.
One of the first acts was to change the cornerstone of South African monetary policy, which had rested on an avowed mission to defend the value of the rand.