The IMF's New Partnership in Sub-Saharan Africa

Income levels are at last rising across sub-saharan Africa and some of the fastest growing countries in the world over the last decade have been from the region. At the same time, an increasing number of African leaders have been talking in positive terms about their partnerships with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Are these connected? If so, what happened to the reported confrontations on policies and finances between the IMF and developing countries that littered the media in the 1980's and 1990's? By exploring the reasons behind recent African success stories and the changing roles that the IMF has played over the years, Antoinette Monsio Sayeh '79 seeks to separate myth from reality and identify the broad areas of agreement that now exist on how to keep economies on track for sustained growth. Sayeh, who delivered the 2011 Claire Wilcox Lecture, is director of the African Department of the IMF. As Minister of Finance in post-conflict Liberia, she led the country through its first poverty reduction strategy, significantly strengthened its public finances and championed public financial management reform. Before joining President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's cabinet, Sayeh worked in a variety of roles in the World Bank, including country director for Benin, Niger, and Togo. Sayeh holds a B.A. with honors in economics from Swarthmore College and a Ph.D. in international economic relations from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.