IMF officials preview annual meetings
I attended a briefing today with senior IMF officials, including first deputy managing director John Lipsky and IMF planning chief Reza Moghadam in advance of next week’s annual meetings. Several interesting points came out. Lipsky acknowledged that internal Fund governance issues will consume a great deal of time and energy at the meetings, perhaps more ...
I attended a briefing today with senior IMF officials, including first deputy managing director John Lipsky and IMF planning chief Reza Moghadam in advance of next week’s annual meetings. Several interesting points came out. Lipsky acknowledged that internal Fund governance issues will consume a great deal of time and energy at the meetings, perhaps more than dealing with the "real economy." And while he insisted that these issues (and the distribution of Executive Board seats, in particular) might be resolved at next week’s meetings, it was fairly clear that he was putting more hope in a resolution during the November G20 summit in Seoul. Unsurprisingly, Lipsky and his colleagues were tight-lipped about any specific formulas that might resolve the standoff.
I asked the officials whether the IMF was now adequately staffed. Shortly before the financial crisis, the Fund downsized considerably, and I’ve heard that it is still struggling in some areas to cope with the intense workload it’s faced since the crisis began. Lipsky acknowledged that the 2007 staff reductions now appear quite short-sighted. "The downsizing was in the context of a very favorable economic environment—whether that was the most brilliant thing to be doing in 2007 is an issue we’ll leave alone." Moghadam conceded that staffing “is an issue…Our overtime rate is extremely high right now." He said that in the absence of additional resources the staff will have to look at ways to prioritize tasks and assess what it can do less of.
Update: for the latest European proposal on IMF reform, see here.
David Bosco is a professor at Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. He is the author of The Poseidon Project: The Struggle to Govern the World’s Oceans. Twitter: @multilateralist
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