Gordhan whips G8 for Lagarde’s IMF push

By Ethel Hazelhurst Time of article published May 31, 2011

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The world’s richest countries drew sharp words yesterday from Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

He was commenting on attempts by the Group of Eight (G8) to ensure that French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde succeeds Frenchman Dominique Strauss-Kahn to head the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Speaking on the sidelines at the conference on Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel’s New Growth Path in Boksburg, Gordhan said: “We are learning a lot of lessons about how those who have enjoyed privilege and power hope to continue to enjoy them in a world that is changing so fast that 50 percent of economic growth now comes from developing countries.”

Lagarde’s cabinet colleague Alain Juppé told The Independent there was unanimous support for Lagarde in the G8.

Having gained the support of this exclusive club, Lagarde is heading for the developing world. AP reported yesterday that she had kicked off a global tour to promote her candidacy with a trip to Brazil.

Brazil, Russia, India and China are the original members of the grouping of developing countries known as Brics, which South Africa joined in April.

For South Africa’s National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel or any other Brics candidate to be placed on the short list of candidates, the Brics’ united support is pivotal.

As yet no consensus candidate has emerged from the group. AP said Lagarde “plans to visit many of the most influential developing nations to convince them she would not focus exclusively on Europe”.

Developing countries have called for an end to the tradition of appointing a European to head the IMF. While there has been some moral support from within G8 countries for a break with tradition, this has not translated into active support for a non-European.

Referring to the IMF, Gordhan said: “It’s a great pity that we preach and talk about democracy and transparency and accountability and good governance but when we are put to the test of practising this principle in the important process of choosing the IMF managing director, we forget them and look for backroom deals.”

Gordhan described the situation as “highly regrettable” and added: “Africa is lectured all the time on being accountable but those who lecture to us find it difficult to practise what they preach.”

The deadline for nominations is June 10 and the IMF says on its website that it aims to complete the process of appointing a successor by the end of the month. - Business Report

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