Highly commended for finance minister of the year
Peru's former finance minister has helped to turn his country's fortunes around.
Pedro Pablo Kuczynski: Peru
|Kuczynski (right) has taken Peru back to
the international markets
NOT ALL PERUVIANS love Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who was, until August, their finance minister and is now prime minister. From the time he took on the job of managing Peru's $68 billion economy in 2001, the Oxford and Princeton-educated economist was harassed from all sides to loosen the purse strings and lavish money on teachers' pay rises, angry bus drivers, overworked doctors and populist government subsidies for the poor. To his credit, Kuczynski mostly said no and in fact brought Peru's fiscal deficit to a five-year low of 1.1% of GDP last year. But some unions and left-wing politicians sought revenge, claiming that a foreigner cannot hold office – Kuczysnki is also a US citizen. They succeeded in blocking him in 2002, albeit temporarily, when he was forced to step down as Peruvians violently rejected his plans to privatize two electricity utilities and president Alejandro Toledo's unpopular government came close to collapse.
But ever since Kuczynski was reappointed in late 2003, his star has risen. With a seemingly permanent half-smile on his face, the 66-year-old took Peru back to the bond markets, restructured its external debt, brought stability to Toledo's crisis-hit government and has overseen some of Peru's best economic growth in its 184 years of independence.