Mexico’s Finance Secretary Luis Videgaray, one of the chief architects of Mexico’s structural reforms, has been granted international recognition as one of the world’s top 100 thinkers.
The United States-based Foreign Policy magazine, sponsor of the top 100 thinkers project, says Videgaray’s reputation as the brains behind the Mexican government was confirmed when energy reform was signed into law in August.
He became Finance Secretary in December 2012 after having been in charge of promoting the economic reforms and policy direction for the new government of Enrique Peña Nieto.
In an interview with Foreign Policy, Videgaray looked back on the reform process and how it was set in motion. “It’s important to remember that in Mexico there is no single party that ever has a majority in the House or the Senate. For this reason, all reforms require political accord.
“So what the president did was to open a space for very frank dialogue, one in which we all listened to one another. And it was from that space that the initial reform plan, Pact for Mexico, was born.”
He said that while not all the reforms were ultimately agreed upon by the three main parties, the “base concept” of the 11 reforms did have that support. “What we all agreed upon is that Mexico could not go another six years (the length of a presidential term) without moving the ball forward.”
Although economic performance has been below all expectations since the reforms were approved, Videgaray did say some specific successes have been seen so far, such as in access to finance. Small and medium-sized businesses can get credit that wasn’t available before.
The secretary also mentioned that his experience as an elected representative served him well in the process of introducing the reforms, allowing him to have “a close conversation with legislators.” He is the first Finance Secretary in 100 years to have had that legislative experience.
He is also the first Finance Secretary in Mexico’s history to be named to Foreign Policy’s top 100 thinkers, and joins an impressive list of notable public figures from around the world who were named this year. They include India Prime Minister Narendra Modi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Iran President Hassan Rouhani and Uruguay President José Mujica. Videgaray was given his recognition in the Decision-Makers’ category.
The minister, aged 46, has worked with Peña Nieto for a number of years, serving as his Finance Secretary when he was governor of the State of Mexico. Videgaray received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Autonomous Institute of Technology, and a doctorate in the same field from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, specializing in public finance.
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