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In a huge step forward, this week Liberia slashed its foreign debt by buying back $1.2 billion in commercial debt -- about one-quarter of its foreign debt -- from its private foreign creditors, including banks, hedge funds, and other “distressed debt” investment funds.
We at CGD warmly welcome president-elect Barack Obama's appointments of Timothy Geithner as Secretary of Treasury and Lawrence Summers to head the National Economic Council. Both are members of the CGD Board of Directors. This is no coincidence.
It's disappointing to see Europe attempting to preserve the outmoded mid-20th century custom of Europeans naming the head of the IMF, and in exchange letting the U.S. name the head of the World Bank. As the Economist today succinctly described the quickly emerging European consensus on France's nomination of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a former finance minister of France:
Several CGD senior staff, including CGD president Nancy Birdsall, are among the more than 160 senior development professionals and experts who have signed a joint letter urging reform of the leadership selection process at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato promised in a speech at the Center this week that the planned increase in voice and representation of developing countries at the IMF would cover the poorest members - most of which are in sub-Saharan Africa - and not just the “emerging market economies”.