AU calls for non-European IMF chief

The African Union said on Thursday that the next head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should be a non-European and in particular an African, in a break with Europe’s strangehold of the post. However, it declined to back or nominate a specific candidate.

Friday is the deadline for nominations for the next managing director of the IMF after Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned last month following his arrest in New York on sexual assault charges that he denies.

“The African Union believes that it is now time for a non-European, particularly an African, to be at the helm of the IMF… ,” the pan-African body said in a statement.

“Selecting a non-European and particularly someone from the developing world would go a long way in increasing the voice and representation at the IMF for these countries,” it said.

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde is seen as the leading contender for the post and has been on a world tour to make her case.

Large emerging powers like India have been highly critical of Europe’s grip on the top position at the Washington-based IMF, which has been filled by a European since its inception in 1944.

“The case for an African IMF managing director also arises from the fact that Africa is emerging as a new pole for global growth with huge potential ... ,” the African Union said.

“Arguably, the developing countries, including those in Africa, have several highly qualified and credible candidates for the position of IMF managing director, whose appointment would also give credibility and legitimacy to the IMF.”

Last month IMF directors from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa—the so-called Brics economies—also said Europe’s longstanding exclusive deal to lead the IMF “undermines the legitimacy of the fund”.—AFP


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