Former IMF Managing Director Held Seminar on Poverty Reduction

Michel Camdessus, retired Managing Director of International Monetary Fund (IMF), held a seminar in Tsinghua SEM on Oct. 24 on international financing and poverty reduction.

The seminar was targeted primarily at students from SEM, who smilingly called themselves “China’s CEOs-to-be” during the seminar.

Mr. Camdessus said he hoped “China’s CEOs-to-be” will be an important force in fighting poverty by not only enriching themselves, but also help to enrich the country as a whole.

Talking at length about the “positive potential in financial globalization for development,” Mr. Camdessus pointed out that world economic strategy is an evolving process, especially when it comes to policies concerning assistance to poor countries.

“We have seen that we need to substitute sustainable development to the simple growth strategy. We have seen that we need to substitute partnership to mere assistance. We have seen that in the partnership approach, we must have the poorest in the driving seat,” he said.

He went on to suggest that to fight poverty more effectively, “we must also substitute an improved world governance system to the one we have.”

Commenting on the world community’s effort on poverty deduction, Mr. Camdessus asked, “Are we on the side of industrial countries doing all what we (can) do? Let me tell you very frankly that so far, to my judgment, (it is) not enough,” although “possibly a little bit better than before.”

Talking about people who are cynical toward the need of fighting poverty, Mr. Camdessus called their attitude “shortsighted.”

He said he believed the opposite, “because too much is at stake for the future of the humanity.”

He praised young people for their commitment to improving the conditions of the global society. “…There’s something which is strong in the heart of young people as yourselves all around the world,” he said. “They wish to give sense to their own lives by working to make this world a better place for all.”

Michel Camdessus assumed office as Managing Director and Chairman of the Executive Board of the IMF in 1987. He stayed in office for three terms until his retirement in 2000, and was the longest-serving Managing Director in IMF history.