WASHINGTON, DC: With the departure of International Monetary Fund managing director Michel Camdessus last week, a new era may well be dawning for the institution PR-wise.
WASHINGTON, DC: With the departure of International Monetary Fund
managing director Michel Camdessus last week, a new era may well be
dawning for the institution PR-wise.
The sole declared candidate to succeed Camdessus, former World Bank
official Caio Koch-Weser, has suggested that the IMF’s own problems stem
less from its actual work than from its image as being ’a very
contentious institution, particularly in the US.’ He has emphasized the
IMF’s need for better PR - a process, he modestly believes must begin
with the managing director, who should act in much the same vein as a
His election, however, is not a sure thing. The IMF’s 24-member
executive board, representing the interests of the 182 member countries,
will decide who succeeds Camdessus.
During a recent address before the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy
at George-town University’s School of Foreign Service, Camdessus
admitted that the IMF’s PR has been lacking. ’We are not seen to be
accountable, and some of our member governments from time to time find
it convenient not to express their public support,’ he said.
American Enterprise Institute public opinion analyst Karlyn Bowman
believes most Americans lack in-depth familiarity with the IMF but
generally favor a ’tight-fisted’ approach to foreign aid. Added 50 Years
is Enough policy analyst (and frequent IMF critic) Soren Ambrose, ’To
the extent that it’s known, the IMF is not highly regarded.’
The left criticizes IMF monetary policies for reducing funding for human
needs, while conservatives charge the institution is not accountable for
its actions and often makes bad loans. But most Congressmen support the
group, if not always with great enthusiasm.
The IMF is not going on its image push alone. The McLean, VA-based
Wirthlin Group conducted a global image survey for the IMF’s external
affairs department, while Edelman’s DC outpost presented suggestions to
the organization’s executive board on ways to upgrade PR. The results of
the survey and the recommendations, however, have not been revealed to
The change in leadership should coincide with the issuance of the
International Financial Institutions Advisory Commission’s report
recommending reforms for the IMF.