Christine Lagarde wins top spot at IMF

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Almost 48,000 ONE members signed our petition urging the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to run an open, transparent and merit-based process for their top position — but now the results are in. This week, the IMF’s executive board announced that they have chosen Christine Lagarde of France to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn as the managing director of the IMF.

As the IMF’s first female managing director, Ms. Lagarde will have one of the most powerful positions in global finance. She will be in charge of working with the IMF’s member nations to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability and reduce poverty around the world, among other things. Her candidacy has won the support of several key African nations, including the Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Before coming to the IMF, Ms. Lagarde was the finance minister of France, one of Europe’s most powerful economies, and has been at the forefront of containing Europe’s debt crisis. This experience will serve her well, as she’ll be expected to guide the IMF through these tough economic times at the same level as her predecessor.

“I will make it my overriding goal that our institution continues to serve its entire membership with the same focus and the same spirit,” she said in her first official IMF statement. “As I have had the opportunity to say to the IMF Board during the selection process, the IMF must be relevant, responsive, effective, and legitimate, to achieve stronger and sustainable growth, macroeconomic stability, and a better future for all.”

And when she says “future for all,” she also means Africa — which we were very pleased to hear. In her statement to the IMF board as a candidate, she said that one of the IMF’s key guiding factors should be to enhance its responsiveness to the needs of low-income countries, especially those in Africa.

She has also made it known that the IMF should strive to be even more diverse. “There should be appropriate and proportionate representation at staff level to express and respect both diversity and universality,” she said during her candidacy.

We welcome Ms. Lagarde for her efforts to fight global poverty — but she should know that we’ll be watching her to make sure that she keeps the promises she made to Africa, diversity and the world’s poorest people.