Bulgarian Economist Kristalina Georgieva Becomes New IMF Chief

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Picture Credit: Reuters

By Adedapo Adesanya

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has confirmed Bulgarian economist, Kristalina Georgieva, as its new head and managing director. She succeeds Christine Lagarde, who resigned to become the head of the European Central Bank (ECB).

Ms Georgieva was previously the second in command at the World Bank after she was put forward as Europe’s sole candidate, becoming the first person from an emerging economy to lead the organization since its establishment in 1944.

After her appointment, she said, “It is a huge responsibility to be at the helm of the IMF at a time when global economic growth continues to disappoint, trade tensions persist, and debt is at historically high levels.”

Ms Georgieva said that the IMF’s immediate priority was to help countries minimize risk and be ready to cope with downturns while supporting long-term economic stability.

“We should not lose sight of our long-term objective – to support sound monetary, fiscal and structural policies to build stronger economies and improve people’s lives. This means also dealing with issues like inequalities, climate risks and rapid technological change,” she said.

The 66-year old Bulgarian was backed by French President Emmanuel Macron and won support last month from the rest of the European Union, as well as the tacit backing of the United States.

Ms Georgieva holds a PhD in Economic Science and an M.A. in Political Economy and Sociology from the University of National and World Economy in Bulgaria, where she also taught from 1977 to 1991.

In 2010, she was at the European Commission, serving as commissioner for international cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis response, then as vice president for budget and human resources.

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