New IMF, World Bank heads face reform challenge

WASHINGTON, Oct 14, 2007 (AFP) – The new heads at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund face the tough task of restoring credibility to the powerful financial bodies which hold an annual summit this month, analysts say. “Both (Robert) Zoellick and Dominique Strauss-Kahn are certainly competent people. But I don’t think it is so easy for them to make change on their own,” said Daniel Bradlow, an international law professor at American University in Washington, where the institutions are based.

At their general assemblies on October 20 and 22, the American Zoellick, new chief of the development lender, and Strauss-Kahn, the French former finance minister set to take over as head of the fund, must hold the reins of institutions in the grip of an identity crisis.

Six decades after their founding in the aftermath of World War Two, Strauss-Kahn leads an IMF struggling to justify its relevance, while critics say the bank is inefficient and too western-dominated.

“It might be beyond him, no matter how competent he is, to solve the governance and relevancy problems. And the fact that there has been no governance reform so far makes it very difficult for him to change things,” Bradlow said of Strauss-Kahn.

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