Updated: February 27, 2021
Kristalina Georgieva has been Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund since October 2019, just before the start of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Under her leadership, the IMF has dispersed many billions of dollars to the world and to Africa in response to the economic crises resulting from the pandemic.
Since the start of the pandemic, the IMF has approved fast-track loans of over US$16 billion to African nations. This is exponentially greater than the IMF’s typical lending amount would be during a normal year.
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Abebe Aemro Selassie, director of the Africa Department of the IMF, said to The Africa Report in January, “This has been a year where Africa was tested, like never before, and in terms of institutional capacity, its ability to deal with this pandemic.”
In the same interview, Abebe said “This is not your grandfather’s IMF” and that it “has been put on steroids by Kristalina Georgieva” who has taken a proactive approach since becoming managing director.
Georgieva is a Bulgarian economist who previously served as Chief Executive of the World Bank, Vice President for Budget and Human Resources at the European Union, and is listed in Time Magazine’s top 100 most influential people of 2020.
According to a January 8th IMF press release, “The International Monetary Fund has maintained its lending capacity at around US$1 trillion for the coming years,” indicating that it will continue to provide substantial financial support to countries in crisis resulting from the pandemic.
Georgieva met with African ministers in charge of finance and representatives from the Economic Commision for Africa on February 5th.
During this meeting, she noted that to recover from the COVID-19 crisis and build toward a better future, “bold and immediate action for response, recovery, and reset of African economies” is needed.
She went on to address the concerns of African leaders and acknowledge the financial struggles that they face regarding widespread vaccine distribution, saying that “liquidity and financing response is the bridge to vaccines and recovery.”
Georgieva’s term as managing director runs through the year 2024 and she has indicated that the IMF will continue to act dynamically in order to combat the financial distress that the COVID-19 pandemic has put on Africa and the rest of the world.