In Conversation with IMF Chairwoman Kristalina Georgieva
During the 2020 Bloomberg New Economy Forum, IMF Chair Georgieva answered ECC President Bincheng Mao's question about COVID-induced economic and healthcare inequity for marginalized groups. Bincheng's question was raised to Dr. Georgieva during the Forum's closing panel by moderator Ian Bremmer.
Dr. Kristalina Georgieva is the incumbent Chairwoman and Managing Director of the IMF. Prior to joining the IMF, she served as Acting President of the World Bank Group in 2019. From 2014 to 2016, Dr. Georgieva was Vice-President of the European Commission. Born and raised in Bulgaria, she is the first head of the IMF from an emerging economy.
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Moderator: Two questions that are basically the same question, one from the Mandela Institute and one from Bincheng Mao. And they're both asking how the global community can come together to ensure that people are not left behind in terms of vaccines, in terms of healthcare protections. We know about COVAX, but we also know of course the United States has been driving so much of the investment and wealthy countries are going to be taken care of first. What do we do to respond to that? This is really a question first and foremost to Kristalina.
Kristalina Georgieva: I am so grateful that we are asked this question because what I can say with strong conviction is vaccine policy is an economic policy. If we do not pursue access to vaccines and improvements to health systems everywhere, we cannot get to a point of robust recovery. And it is therefore an enlightened self-interest that should drive us to work together towards the promotion of access to vaccines. We have seen many leaders stepping up. It was so rewarding that the Europeans, Australia, many emerging markets came together and said we want to be sure that vaccination is not going to be rich countries, rich people luxury. Because if it is only for them, it’s just not going to work. So what we can do, we can of course, as global community, press on that point and in our own responsibility, do all we can to make that case. And I can tell you, in my role, we are an organization of 190 members, we are pressing the message that health and economy are two sides of the same coin and that we are so interdependent. If this crisis taught us something, it is we depend on each other. And [it] actually taught us one more thing, if I may, can I add one more point?
Moderator: Yes, you can add one more point.
Kristalina Georgieva: Thank you. The simple point is prevention is better than cure. Remember the global financial crisis? After the global financial crisis, we built the stronger banking system: it is more resilient. And so my dream is, from this crisis, to expend this concept of resilience. Resilient people, Mike [Bloomberg] talked about education, educated healthy, everybody having access to health services. Resilient planet, we make sure we don't blow up the future of our children with irresponsible high carbon, low resilience actions. And of course, resilience of how we come together as community: respect, depend on each other.
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