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Planing Minister Trevor Manuel is set to take up another international role after being appointed co-chair of the 40-member committee briefed by the Cancun climate summit to design a $100 billion (R674 billion) green fund.
Manuel’s spokesman, Dumisani Jele, on Monday confirmed that Manuel was to co-chair the Green Climate Fund, scheduled to meet on Thursday and Friday in Mexico City.
But Jele said this was not a full-time position and that Manuel would not have to resign from the cabinet to take up the post.
Rumours that former finance minister Manuel was set to resign from the cabinet have been rife since his appointment as minister in the presidency, responsible for the National Planning Commission, by President Jacob Zuma in 2009.
Manuel was convinced to stay on, but a recent scathing open letter from him to government spokesman Jimmy Manyi, in which he took Manyi to task for remarks he had made about coloured people in the Western Cape, was read by many as a sign that Manuel was set to make an exit.
There is recurring speculation that Manuel is eyeing a top job at the World Bank or the IMF.
Jele, however, said Manuel “will not resign as minister”.
Manuel has long experience of dealing with global development work. He chaired the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s board of governors in 2000, as well as the bank’s development committee from 2001 to 2005.
He was one of two UN special envoys to the 2002 Monterrey Financing for Development summit and a member of former British prime minister Tony Blair’s 2004 to 2005 Commission for Africa, and a chair of the 2007 G-20 summit.
Manuel was appointed UN special envoy for Development Finance in 2008, and served on the UN’s High Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Finance in 2010.
The Cancun summit agreed that the Green Climate Fund should be established to distribute money to projects in developing countries, and the composition of the committee was finalised this month.
The fund has been promised aid money of $100bn in annual grants up to 2020.
Patrick Bond from the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society writes on the Daily Kos, a community website for climate issues, that Manuel’s neo-liberal outlook would not serve the cause of climate change activists. - Political Bureau