As a matter of principle, Africa should challenge the gentleman’s agreement between the U.S. and Europe, whereby the head of the IMF is a European and the head of the World Bank an American. This longstanding divvying-up of these positions-which is no longer justified-is outdated and should simply be abolished. The IMF is not France’s monopoly, even if it has managed it for 32 of its 52 years, and the IMF’s antidemocratic, despotic, medieval, and feudal constitution needs to be amended.
And the IMF is hit with English-language criticism by AEI’s Desmond Lachman:
The need for a serious external evaluation of the IMF and the World Bank would appear all the more pressing now at a time that both of these institutions need to restore their tattered credibility. The IMF is yet to shake off its many missteps during the Asian and Latin American currency crises some ten years ago, while the World Bank is presently reeling from its two years of mismanagement under Paul Wolfowitz’s leadership. And the continued practice of dividing the leadership of the World Bank and the IMF between the Americans and the Europeans has hardly done anything to restore the legitimacy of those institutions, especially among the Asian emerging market economies, whose weight continues to increase in the global economy.
How timely it would be to have an external evaluation of these institutions now on the eve of new management taking charge, when serious questions should be asked as to the correct long-term course that these institutions should be charting.
CGD’s Dennis de Tray is pleasantly surprised to see some progress:
Last Friday the IMF board announced that it would accept nominations… a first and essential step in opening up the process of selecting the IMF leader…
The announcement is a welcome if slightly amazing turn of events. I’ve worked at both the IMF and the World Bank, and came away from my Fund experience thinking this was an institution with an almost pathological aversion to change…
Does this announcement guarantee that the best man or woman will get the job? No, but it is a critical signal that at least some of the world’s leading nations understand that business as usual in the governance of the world’s premier international organizations is just not on.
Strauss-Kahn is still expected to win the post.