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Despite our best efforts to ensure an open, transparent and merit-based process for the selection of the IMF managing director, the multilateral institution is once again led by a EU national.

We say goodbye for now but we will keep our eye in future leadership races and will keep advocating for a democratic process. See you soon!

The IMF is seeking to remove its age limit…

Kristalina Georgieva, who is currently the World Bank chief executive and a Bulgarian national, was nominated on 2 August by European governments for the position of IMF managing director (MD). However, as pointed out in a previous IMFBoss blog, Georgieva is 65 years old, meaning that the IMF would need to change its MD age limit rules for the board to officially appoint her as the new head of the Fund.

It was already reported in the Financial Times on 26 July that France had floated the idea of changing the age limit, but that the idea did not attract support from the board at the time. The article added that, “Nonetheless, people familiar with the matter said the age limit could still be tweaked at a later stage if Ms Georgieva emerged as the board’s choice.”

While officially, governments can still nominate candidates until 6 September, after which an “open, merit-based, and transparent selection process” should take place to suss out the very best candidate, upon Kristalina’s European nomination it seems the IMF executive board is already paving the way for her to assume the leadership position.

Continue reading “The IMF is seeking to remove its age limit…”

Open letter demanding a fair selection process for the next IMF managing director

To governors and executive directors of the IMF,

The ‘gentleman’s agreement’, which has ensured that the IMF managing director has, for 75 years, been European and the World Bank president a US national, is undemocratic, illegitimate, and rooted in neo-colonial principles.  

International institutions currently face a crisis of legitimacy, as faith in the multilateral system of global governance withers. If the IMF and World Bank want to present themselves as modern institutions capable of tackling today’s challenges, it is imperative that they become democratic and accountable to all of those they represent.

Despite over 150 civil society organisations and individuals calling on the World Bank for an open, transparent and merit-based leadership succession process earlier this year, the US candidate David Malpass was appointed president of the World Bank. This, exacerbated by the fact that the only other nominee cited pressure from “other governments” as the reason for withdrawing, brought global governance into further disrepute.

It is high time to end the ‘gentleman’s agreement’ and replace it with a genuinely open, democratic, merit-based, transparent process, that goes beyond rhetorical commitment, and allows candidates, regardless of nationality, to be put forward on an equal footing. In line with longstanding civil society demands, we believe that no country – or indeed bloc of countries – should wield excessive power in this process. Instead, the winning candidate should gain support of a majority of both voting shares and member states.

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The IMF and inclusive growth: achieving SDG8

Under the leadership of Christine Lagarde, the IMF endorsed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and portrayed itself as a champion of inclusive growth. However, little changed in IMF loan agreements, which continued to push the same harmful austerity and deregulation measures of the past. The next leader of the IMF needs to change the core operations of the institution to promote sustainable economic growth, full employment and decent work.

The IMF has not meaningfully supported the SDGs, and its policies undermine the ability of countries to achieve the 2030 Agenda. To illustrate this point, let’s take a look at SDG 8: “promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work.”

In a recent report, the International Labour Organization (ILO) shows that the world is not on track to achieve SDG 8 by 2030. For that to change, a major shift in macroeconomic policies is needed.

Orthodox economic policy models, like those promoted by the IMF, focus on supply-side measures and assume that growth will eventually trickle-down. Reality has shown that this is not the case. Furthermore, these models have failed to bring sustained growth the developing world.

Under the guise of “efficiency” the IMF has worked at odds with a decent work growth agenda,  often undermined labour market institutions, pushing for cuts in public wage bills, deregulation and weakening of workers’ rights. This approach, along with sharp spending cuts, lead to a downwards spiral in which the economy shrinks, unemployment grows, poverty soars, and aggregate demand in the economy collapses. The IMF itself admitted that most loan programmes fail to meet  growth targets.

Continue reading “The IMF and inclusive growth: achieving SDG8”