- Middle East/North Africa
Hesham Ramez, the CEO of the Commercial International Bank, has been appointed as the new governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), said presidential spokesperson Yasser Ali at a press conference on Thursday.
President Mohamed Morsy selected Ramez as former governor Farouk al-Oqda's successor. Ramez and Oqda were both present at the press conference.
Investment banking expert Karim Helal, investment banking adviser and chairman of the Asean-Egypt Business Association — was encouraged by the announcement.
"I think he's not only an excellent choice, but the only choice, without a doubt. I think it's very good news," Helal said.
"I know there was some sort of resistance initially, but I know he was always the frontrunner," he continued, adding that he was glad Ramez was convinced to take the position: "He's the person most qualified to deal with the challenges we have."
Among those challenges are securing the US$4.8 billion International Monetary Loan, fixing the reserve shortage and stabilizing the currency.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces had renewed Oqda’s contract for four years in November 2011, keeping him on as governor through November 2015. He recently resigned, but denied doing so due to the record decline of the Egyptian pound against the US dollar during his tenure. Oqda also denied reports that he resigned due to the Cabinet's financial policies, stressing that the prime minister never interfered in bank matters.
Oqda pointed out that the CBE itself suggested the constitutional article stipulating that its governor serve for a four year term that could only be renewed once.
Oqda also said that the Egyptian pound would stabilize within a short period. Ramez agreed with that assessment, especially given that inflation is stable, he said.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm