Kristalina Georgieva, China and the tensions that nearly cost her her IMF position

An unexpected reputation crunch reveals that the IMF and its steering committee, despite endorsing Bulgarian Kristalina Georgieva as managing director, have also announced measures to “ensure the integrity and credibility of data” in the future.

Uncertainty about Kristalina Georgieva’s continuity with the IMF arose on September 16, before a report suggested she was responsible for “undue pressure” on China in 2017 while preparing the report. Doing Business, and dissipated during the week of October 11, 2021, when the International Organization’s Board of Directors approved its confidence.

“The Board concluded that the information provided during its review did not conclusively establish that the CEO played an inappropriate role in relation to the report. Doing Business 2018 When I was CEO of the World Bank,” the G24 said in a press release sent to international media and agencies.

The agreement forced negotiations and generated tension: while France, the United Kingdom, and Europe in general expressed support for Georgieva; The United States and Japan expressed doubts about the advisability of ratification of their positions.

The economist’s case appears to have been settled, at least for the time being, as a separate statement recorded by the newspaper Country, shows that the United States remains interested in pursuing the case: US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that “proactive measures should be taken to enhance the integrity and credibility of data at the IMF,” and that managers should reaffirm their commitment to transparency in research, analysis and approved policies.

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The tone of Yellen’s comment was similar to the announcement made by the IMF board at the conclusion of the meeting with the World Bank on April 16.

Report and “Assumptions”

The case against Georgieva arose from the results of an investigation conducted by WilmerHale, at the request of the Ethics Committee of the World Bank (WB).

The company analyzed the role of World Bank executives in the alleged manipulation of technical data that sought to improve China’s standing in the ratings, the entity’s most popular publication. This change could have been made in order to obtain funds from Beijing to increase the bank’s capital.

“Guide [del FMI] It found that information provided during the review did not conclusively establish that the Director-General played an inappropriate role in relation to Doing Business 2018, when she was CEO of the World Bank, according to the press release.

The IMF said it had conducted a “comprehensive” and “objective” review of the issue, meeting eight times. For its part, the World Bank decided to cancel the publication Doing Business.

After the board’s decision, Georgieva described the case as a “difficult episode on a personal level”, and previously defined the company’s conclusions as “errors and false assumptions made by the authors of the report,” according to Agence France-Presse.

“As the International Monetary Fund meets this week, I am honored to lead such a talented team that is working tirelessly to address the world’s greatest challenges, from fighting COVID-19 to combating climate change and combating economic inequalities,” the Bulgarian responded.

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Voices like Nobel laureate in economics Joseph Stiglitz and Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, have spread in various media their fears that Georgieva was the victim of an attempt to change course that the IMF had taken into his own hands, and that he risked becoming a victim For the “anti-Beijing hysteria”, led by the United States.

During her tenure at the International Monetary Fund, the 68-year-old Bulgarian focused on inequality, the inclusion of women in the economy, and climate change.

Prior to assuming her most recent position, Georgieva was the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid from 2010 to 2014. From 2015 to 2016, she was Deputy Chair of the Juncker Committee responsible for budget and human resources.

A diplomat told AFP on her first visit to European institutions that she has a good reputation as an energetic, diligent high-ranking official with a tough character if she stands up for a cause “that matters to her very much”.

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