Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Kazakh DG of the IMF?

As you already know, Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK) was the Director General (DG) of the IMF until he recently resigned over allegations he sexually assaulted a hotel maid in NYC. Amidst the legal and media blitz surrounding the DSK scandal, the more relevant (and arguably more interesting) question is who will take over the IMF?

The acting DG is American banker John Lipsky. Traditionally, an American heads the World Bank (current President Robert Zoellick), while the leadership of the IMF is reserved for a European.  Controversy surrounding the leadership of international organizations is nothing new, as developing countries in Asia, Latin America and MENA argue that different leadership is necessary given the multipolarity of the political global economy.  International organizations require international leadership. Given the IMF reforms from the G-20 Summit in Seoul (Fall 2010), the IMF is now in a position to diversify its leadership and embrace a qualified candidate from a non-European state.

So...how about a Eurasian? At the May CIS meeting in Minsk, member-states supported the nomination of Grigory Marchenko, chief of the National Bank of Kazakhstan, to replace DSK as DG of the IMF. Marchenko has years of experience in banking and has headed the National Bank of Kazakhstan after it was nationalized in December 2008 during the global financial crisis. Not an easy job. Much to Marchenko's credit (and the business-friendly policies of Massimov and Nazarbayev), Kazakhstan is Central Asia's leading economy.

Still, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde represents the leading contender to replace DSK. It is still too soon to tell...

I'm now a little more than two weeks away from jetting off to Kazakhstan and am loving the exchange rate (1 tenge = .0069 USD, or 1 USD= 145.35 tenge)!!

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