Events - 30.04.2013 - 00:00 

One-on-one with Christine Lagarde

Being able to answer tough questions and navigate her way through troubled times, the Managing Director of the IMF addresses the 43rd St. Gallen Symposium.
Source: HSG Newsroom


2 May 2013 Christine Madeleine Odette Lagarde who held various ministerial posts in the French government, was the first woman to become a finance minister of a G8 country. Her current role as the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has her running the organization of 188 countries, which works to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.

Global Focus
Joining her on stage, asking her critical questions regarding the IMF’s role in the current economic crisis and their outlook on the future was by Stephen Sackur, host of the BBC’s flagship interview programme HARDtalk. Mr. Sackur was named the International TV Personality of the Year by the Association for International Broadcasting in 2010.

Discussing the IMF’s lending activities, Ms. Lagarde said that the organisation has 50 programs, the majority of them taking place in Africa in terms of numbers but the most lending, just over 60%, is being spent in the Europe. Mr. Sackur asked his guest that when she took over the managing director position at the IMF if she expected to spend so much time and money in Europe.

She stated that much of the money in Europe was already committed but admitted that, “I didn’t think it would take as much of my time and our energy.” She continued however that she has to keep her eye on daily events and how they affect the global economy but the IMF also looks at longer term trends. “The IMF was heavily engaged in Europe but over thirty years ago, then it was engaged in Asia, then it was heavily engaged for a recurring period of time in Latin America, now it’s back to Europe. We are serving the entire community.”

Global Well-Being
In continuing to discuss the global economy and the IMF’s role, Ms. Lagarde noted, “If something isn’t working as well as we or the entire economist community expected, we have to go back to … it’s the pride of the IMF to question, re-examine and revisit… to constantly be ahead of the curve and see what works and what doesn’t work. We are accountable to 188 countries.”

Mr. Sackur pressed his guest, suggesting that perhaps it was a Euro-centric organisation with softer standards towards European countries. Ms. Lagarde argued that she doesn’t believe, nor do the European countries involved in their programs, that there are easier standards for Euro nations. The IMF’s duty is to help provide stability to all economies, and Europe’s well-being is vitally important.

The 43rd St. Gallen Symposium involves international speakers from the worlds of business, politics, academia and society to discuss this year’s topic, “Rewarding Courage”.