"Developing countries trying to change unfair IMF system” – IMF head candidate

As the IMF is preparing to choose a new head, RT has met with one of the candidates – head of the National Bank of Kazakhstan, Grigory Marchenko. Marchenko says it is about time Europe's monopoly of the IMF ended.

­Speaking about the chances for a representative of the Commonwealth of Independent States to become the new head of the IMF, Marchenko noted that all CIS countries, except for Russia, constitute a part of a bigger group and cannot vote for the new head on their own. Therefore, their vote depends on the decision of the executive directors of their respective groups.

Marchenko believes that for him to be elected, there should be “a broader agreement between the major developing countries on a candidate, and there should be at least some support from some of the developed countries”.

Marchenko added that the election of the new head of the IMF is not about his candidacy, “it is about developing countries trying to assert themselves and trying to change this unfair system.”

When asked about his possible objectives if he were to become the new IMF head, Marchenko said he would like to put more emphasis on the IMF research department. He stressed that the research department has issued some excellent papers in the last 15 years, but unfortunately they do not get as much attention as they deserve.

The IMF in all these 65 years has amassed a tremendous amount of knowledge, and this knowledge is not always properly distributed or analyzed by the policy makers in different countries. I think that would be a very important objective for whoever happens to be the managing director of the IMF,” said Marchenko.

However, with structures such as the IMF, people tend to pay a lot of attention to individuals, picturing them as titans, which is not a true image, according to Marchenko.

I think that the collective mind is always stronger than an individual. My point is that if someone is appointed by the international community as a new managing director of the IMF, he or she won’t have carte blanche to change whatever they want. I think there would be very strict limits to what this person can do.

As regards to one of his strongest rivals, Christine Lagarde, Marchenko said he believes Lagarde is a highly qualified candidate. 

She deserves a lot of credit for becoming the first female finance minister in Europe.

Marchenko also pointed out that Lagarde’s candidacy is an indication that the developed world would like to maintain the status quo in the current distribution of power.

As far as Strauss-Kahn is concerned, Marchenko said that the former IMF head was trying to reform the organization, to adjust it to the realities of the global economy.

We were working with them [the IMF] very closely in 1990’s. Now it is a different organization – not as ideological, not as controlled by the Americans, as in 1990’s”.

The IMF has been changing, but to some people the rate of this change was not going fast enough,” added Marchenko.