Last week our CGD and Peterson Institute colleague Arvind Subramanian called on the IMF to speak truth to power, in an elegant cri de coeur in the Financial Times. The IMF, he notes: “has not provided independent intellectual leadership, most evidently on the eurozone crisis. And it is unprepared to provide stability for the next big global crisis.”
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World Bank president Jim Kim delivered a speech and responded to questions today at Brookings in his first public event since taking the helm at the world’s top development organization on July 1. He struck me as thoughtful, well-informed, articulate and dedicated to multilateralism and the bank’s mission of reducing global poverty. You can see his speech and the Q&A here.
IMF managing director Christine Lagarde announced at a CGD event on Tuesday that the IMF would provide research and analytic support in three areas crucial to sustainable development: carbon pricing, phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and green national accounting, that is, development of new measures of economic progress that take into account environmental costs and benefits not included in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
IMF Chief Warns of Triple Crisis—Economic, Environment, Social—Details IMF Actions to Help on Climate
In a major departure from the IMF’s traditional focus on narrowly defined economic problems, IMF managing director Christine Lagarde warned today that the world faces “a triple crisis—an economic crisis, an environmental crisis and, increasing, a social crisis.”
On Friday evening, the governors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) selected a new president: British civil servant Sir Suma Chakrabarti. The decision is important because the EBRD has recently taken on a major global challenge: assisting the countries of the Arab Spring. It also matters because the selection process raised the bar for open, transparent and merit-based leadership selection at other international institutions, including the World Bank, IMF and the other regional development banks.
This is a joint post with Christian Meyer.
One of the pressing questions for Jim Kim in the years ahead as the World Bank’s new president is what to do as many countries graduate out of IDA, the bank’s fund for grants and concessional loans to the poorest countries. To generate ideas and possible directions for IDA’s business model, CGD has convened a Future of IDA Working Group. The group’s final report with recommendations is due out in early summer, in time for ample discussion prior to the IDA 16 Mid-Term Review this fall.
After an unprecedented competition, with three official nominees, the World Bank announced on Monday that the board had selected Jim Yong Kim, the Korean-born U.S. nominee, as the next president of the World Bank. My guest on this week’s Wonkcast is CGD president Nancy Birdsall, who discusses why it matters who leads the bank and sets out key challenges for the incoming president.
Why the World Bank and its President Matter
It matters a lot who runs the World Bank and it matters how the president is selected. So it’s heartening to see the reforms to the World Bank leadership selection process making a difference this time. Multiple candidates have been nominated. Three will be interviewed by the bank’s executive board next week. For the first time since the bank was created in 1944 there is competition. The process is also more open than ever before.
Some excellent candidates to head the World Bank and the IMF never get nominated because they lack the support of their own country—usually because the party they are affiliated with is not in power at the critical moment. Consider, for example, Ernesto Zedillo, a former president of Mexico who now heads the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization.