IMF’s Georgieva focused on global challenges after securing board support – Reuters interview


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, speaks during a joint press conference at the end of the Financing of African Economies Summit in Paris, France, May 18, 2021. Ludovic Marin / Pool via REUTERS / File Photo

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -IMF Director Kristalina Georgieva is fully focused on global challenges, she said on Tuesday, after the fund’s board cleared her of claims https: // www. reuters.com/business/imf-board-resume-debate- over-georgiavas-future-later-Monday-2021-10-11 that she pressured World Bank staff to change the data to to favor China in its previous job.

“We have difficult problems to solve and we need the institution’s solid reputation to serve members,” Georgieva, a Bulgarian economist, told Reuters in an interview.

Georgieva, the first person from a developing country to head the International Monetary Fund, survived the threat to his leadership, but former U.S. Treasury officials and other experts have warned the scandal has tarnished the IMF and World Bank research reputation https://www.reuters.com / business / world-bank-imf-face-long-term-damage-after-data-rigging-scandal-2021-10-04 .

The problem was a damning assessment prepared by law firm WilmerHale for the World Bank board of directors on data irregularities uncovered in a 2017 World Bank report. WilmerHale’s report alleged that Georgieva and other senior officials put “undue pressure” on bank staff to make changes to improve China’s ranking. Georgieva vehemently denied the charges.

Some Republican lawmakers in the US Congress have said further investigation is needed.

“It is scandalous that the Treasury Department has bowed to pressure from other countries to bury the findings of the WilmerHale report, rather than fully investigating them and holding Ms Georgieva accountable,” said Representative Andy Barr, promising to continue investigating “any undue Chinese influence”. . “

When asked if the saga had hurt the IMF, Georgieva pointed out that the data problems were related to the World Bank’s “Doing Business” reports, not the IMF. She said she had “absolute confidence” in the integrity of IMF data and research.

She said the response to the IMF’s World Economic Outlook on Tuesday and its engagement with civil society organizations and government officials reflected a “solid and solid foundation of confidence” in the IMF.

The IMF has strong controls over all data and a strong internal system to protect whistleblowers, Georgieva said, adding that she had said she would work with staff to strengthen the Fund’s credibility and ensure space. sufficient for any dissent.

Georgieva said she plans to meet with IMF staff on Monday, after the first week of the annual IMF and World Bank meetings, and focus directly on the economic challenges facing the global economy. “I can’t wait,” she said.

Georgieva strongly denied claims made in the WilmerHale report, which focused on her actions at the World Bank in 2017, about two years before she took over as IMF leader.

She and her lawyer criticized the law firm for making critical errors in its report and misleading her that she was not the subject of the investigation.

Georgieva said she welcomed the “thorough and impartial” board review – including two rounds of meetings with her and the lawyers at the law firm – as it gave her a chance to fully refute the claims. allegations.

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