I did report yesterday on my blog about the new development as it concerns the scandal rocking the Former International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of France. Well, a report reaching me has it that he has been released on bail from a New York jail cell, after being charged and then held for attempted rape. But only one day after his resignation, the debate over who should replace him has already begun.
The race to find a successor is underway. But political analyst says finding a leader that can satisfy all of the IMF’s 185 member countries will not be easy.
Since its founding, the top job at the IMF has traditionally been filled by a European. But there is growing opposition to that arrangement. Beijing insists the IMF’s future leader should reflect the growing clout of developing nations.
And the list of potential candidates is long: They include Zhu Min, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China; Agustin Carstens, Mexico’s central bank governor; and South Africa’s former finance chief, Trevor Manuel.
But Owen Barder at the Center for Global Development sees difficulty for non-European candidates. “It will be easier for Europe to come up with a single candidate who they want to nominate than it will be for the emerging markets to get an agreement. They don’t necessarily have the mechanisms and the history of nominating a single candidate. So the danger is, that Europeans, because they’re used to doing it, will find someone very quickly and try to push them forward as a fait accompli,” said Barder.
Early European favorites include Axel Weber, the former president of Germany’s Bundesbank and French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde. Right now, economist Jacob Kirkegaard says the frontrunner status belongs to Lagarde. The only lady in the ‘pack’
“Because one, she’s a very skillful policymaker. She’s got a lot of experience, both in Europe obviously, but also at the G20 level. And she has, for better or worse, the advantage – she would represent a new face to the IMF and international organizations because she would be the first woman to run such an organization,” stated Kirkegaard.
When would an African become an IMF chief? Just musing.