Who is the most impressive leader in the world right now?

Here is my latest Bloomberg column:

The winner is President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski of Peru, also known as PPK. He was sworn in on July 28, and so it is too early to judge his job performance. But there are reasons to be hopeful.

Let’s consider the qualities that might matter in a national leader. Experience? PPK has plenty, having led two ministries (Energy and Mines and Economy and Finance) and served as general manager of the Central Reserve Bank and as prime minister (in Peru the president stands above the prime minister). Energy and mines are especially important sectors for the Peruvian economy.

Peru has a dynamic export economy with trade and investment connections to China, the U.S. and the EU, so you might think a Peruvian leader would need global experience and be well-connected internationally. PPK has worked for the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. He’s extremely well-traveled, lived in Washington for many years, is married to an American and speaks fluent English.

Academic credentials? He has a master’s degree from Princeton, studied philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford, and, among numerous other publications, has written a first-rate Princeton University Press book on the history of Peruvian economics and politics during the 1960s. The study focuses on why Peru’s earlier economic boom was not sustained, exactly the issue he faces as president today.

There is much more at the link, including an assessment of Peru’s current economic prospects, and also how much the quality of national leadership matters at all.  And do read his book Peruvian Democracy under Economic Stress — it is one of the most underrated works on both Latin American development and in development economics more generally.


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