The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has named Nigerian’s former minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as a member of its External Advisory Group.
IMF’s Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, announced Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment into the 12-member team on Friday in a statement.
According to the statement, the new group will provide perspectives from around the globe on key developments and policy issues, including policy responses to the exceptional challenges the world now faces due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and its economic impact.
Ms Georgieva said, “Even before the spread of COVID-19 and the dramatic health, economic, and financial disruptions it has brought, IMF members confronted a rapidly evolving world and complex policy issues.”
“To serve our membership well in this context, we need top-notch input and expertise from the widest range of sources, inside and outside the Fund.
“Toward this end, I am proud that an exceptional and diverse group of eminent individuals with high-level policy, market, and private sector experience has agreed to serve on my External Advisory Group.
“Today we had a dynamic discussion to gain their insights, and to receive informal reactions to our ideas and approaches,” she added.
The advisory group is expected to meet a few times in a year with the IMF’s Managing Director, Deputy Managing Directors, and a sub-set of IMF department Directors.
Meanwhile, The Chairperson of the African Union, President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and three other Africans as AU Special Envoys.
Their job will be to mobilise international support for Africa’s efforts to address the economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Others appointed are Dr Donald Kaberuka, Mr Tidjane Thiam and Mr Trevor Manuel
The Special Envoys will be tasked with soliciting rapid and concrete support as pledged by the G20, the European Union and other international financial institutions.
Ramaphosa said: “In the light of the devastating socio-economic and political impact of the pandemic on African countries these institutions need to support African economies that are facing serious economic challenges with a comprehensive stimulus package for Africa, including deferred debt and interest payments.
“The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been global in both scale and reach, and this necessitates coordinated international action to capacitate all countries to respond effectively, but most particularly developing countries that continue to shoulder a historical burden of poverty, inequality and underdevelopment,” President Ramaphosa said.
What role will her appointment play in fixing the ailing economy?
The socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 on the economy is by direct and indirect routes:
(a) Directly through the effects of the disease on production, trade and investment within local and international market (especially China, Europe and the United States), on global prices, on tourist flows, on fiscal stance, and on human life, especially the health and life of the most vulnerable;
(b) Indirectly through the slowing of global economic growth and supply chain disruptions
International Organisations require top-notch input and expertise from the widest range of sources as they grapple with a global pandemic that could cause a Global depression if the right measures and policies are not put in place.
This is a daunting task which would need the expertise and advice of the likes of Dr. Okonjo-Iweala
Dr Okonjo-Iweala is an internationally respected economist and development expert and served two terms as Minister of Finance of Nigeria.
She has also served as Managing Director of the World Bank.