News / Economy

New IMF Chief Widely Respected

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, center, stands with ministers as she leaves the Elysee Palace in Paris, after the weekly Cabinet meeting, June 29, 2011
French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, center, stands with ministers as she leaves the Elysee Palace in Paris, after the weekly Cabinet meeting, June 29, 2011

The International Monetary Fund's first female head, Christine Lagarde, is considered a tough, competitive and widely respected politician. Lagarde, leaves her job as French finance minister and heads to Washington to head the organization.

Fifty-five-year-old Christine Lagarde is an elegant and imposing presence on the French and European landscape. She has won widespread respect as France's finance minister. And she helped lead the battle against the debt crisis hitting countries sharing the euro currency.

Choosing Lagarde as the International Monetary Fund's new boss was a foregone conclusion after she won the backing of the IMF's heavyweights - the United States, Russia, China and the Europeans.  Hours before the vote, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner praised what he called her "exceptional talent and broad experience."

Analyst Dominique Moisi, of the Paris-based French Institute of International Relations, agrees Lagarde has what is takes to be the Fund's next chief.

"She's a strong, convincing, reliable lady who has an extremely good international image, with English that is perfect," said Moisi.

Observers say one of Lagarde's biggest strengths is that she is a woman in a male-dominated institution. More than that - she is the IMF's first female managing director. Her predecessor, fellow Frenchman Dominique Strauss-Kahn, resigned last month after being charged with sexually assaulting a hotel employee.

Unlike Strauss-Kahn, Lagarde is not a trained economist. But another French Institute analyst, Philippe Moreau Defarges, says she'll be able to handle one of the IMF's biggest headaches - the financial meltdown in Greece, which threatens to spread to other eurozone countries.

"She's up to the task for one reason; around her are many people who are up to the task and there are many people who are ready and able to help her," he said.

The top IMF job has traditionally gone to a European. Emerging economies now want one of their own to take the helm. But they failed to unite behind Lagarde's only challenger - Mexican central banker Agustin Carstens.

Nongovernmental groups like Oxfam International have also criticized what they consider an opaque and undemocratic IMF election process.  Now, says Oxfam France's general director Luc Lampriere, Lagarde must be willing to give emerging economies a major say.

"It puts a very big pressure on Christine Lagarde as director now to really decide and play a key role in changing this forever," he said.

Analyst Moreau Defarges, for one, believes Lagarde will listen to developing countries.  But he has not doubt she has a tough job ahead of her.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7492
JPY
USD
102.27
GBP
USD
0.5960
CAD
USD
1.0950
INR
USD
61.300

Rates may not be current.