By Arab News
By MD Rasooldeen
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah discussed world economic developments and matters related to the International Monetary Fund with its Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Friday.
This is her maiden visit to the Kingdom ever since she became the IMF chief in July last year.
Recently, the IMF urged member states to contribute $500 billion in new lending resources to tackle the European debt crisis to avoid a 1930s-style global depression.
Jarmo T. Kotilaine, chief economist at the National Commercial Bank, told Arab News: “Playing a greater role in the IMF will effectively amount to shouldering some of the responsibility that comes with greater global influence. Encouragingly, countries such as Saudi Arabia can play this role with an admirable track record of macroeconomic stability and rules-based policy making of the kind that the world more generally now needs.”
He said it is clear that, as efforts are under way to better reflect the evolving global balance of economic power in the capital and decision-making of the IMF, countries such as the Kingdom have a potentially far greater role to play.
“With the West still mired in a structural crisis, Saudi Arabia and its leading emerging market peers have become increasingly important as sources of global growth and capital,” Kotilaine said.
Prior to her departure from Tunis, Lagarde said: “Since I was appointed head of the IMF, I have planned to visit all major regions of the world to hear the concerns of our members and understand the issues faced by different countries. Tunisia is the first Arab country I am visiting. I am also going to Saudi Arabia.”
”Tunisia is going through an inclusive process of transition, but faces some extraordinary challenges. I have heard from its leaders how Tunisia was the model that paved the way for the Arab Spring, and their firm belief that it remains capable of lighting the path forward for other countries going through historic changes in the region,” she noted.
She was in Tunis to back the country’s democratic transition and job-creation plans.