National Press Club

Iceland Rebounding from Financial Crisis, Finance Minister Says

April 9, 2009 | By Peter Hickman

Iceland Minister of Business Affairs Gylfi Magnusson

Iceland Minister of Business Affairs Gylfi Magnusson

Photo/Image: Terry Hill

After leading an April 6 Newsmaker through the events leading up to -- and causing Iceland to be one of countries hardest hit by -- the global financial crisis, that Atlantic island nation's minister of business affairs explained what it is doing to recover and said, "the outlook is not all that bad."

Gylfi Magnusson, a former reporter with an economics doctorate from Yale, said Iceland's economic recovery measures include reorganizing not just what he conceded was "not a very well developed banking system," but the entire financial sector of the economy as well.

"Not all of this is going to be pretty," he said, "but it has to be done and it is being done." And he said the "best case scenario" could be that Iceland might be one of the countries to best emerge from the global financial crisis, and in a fairly healthy state."

Another important factor aiding the country's economic recovery, Magnusson said, is what he called "social capital -- our people", including democratic traditions, which is helping Icelanders contribute to it.

Magnusson capped his presentation by telling reporters there is "economic light at the end of the tunnel" and that "Iceland is still a country you can do business with."