IMF, World Bank Begin Annual Meetings Amid Data-Rigging Controversy
Weeklong annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank kick off in Washington today (Reuters), with a scandal siphoning attention away from the global economic recovery from the pandemic and COVID-19 vaccine distribution. The IMF’s executive board is expected to decide whether Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva will step down after allegations that she pressured World Bank staff to boost China’s ranking in a 2018 report when she was the bank’s CEO. Georgieva says she “fundamentally” disagrees (IMF) with the allegations, laid out in a World Bank–commissioned audit. The Financial Times reported that the IMF’s executive board is split over the issue, with Japan and the United States seeking Georgieva’s removal while China, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, and the United Kingdom support her.
Analysis“These two pillars of the international economic order ought to navigate this scandal carefully. The price of doing nothing will be a crisis of legitimacy, which the world can ill afford at a moment when the structures of global governance are straining to respond to multiple crises,” American University’s Tamar Gutner writes for the Internationalist blog. “The larger question is whether the world’s institutions are robust enough to cope with what looks likely to be a prolonged contest for global primacy between the two titans,” the Financial Times’ Edward Luce writes.