(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) International Monetary Funds (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde has called for greater global cooperation to put the world on a strong path to recovery and build on sweeping demographic and technological changes that are driving a shift in global economic power.
In a keynote speech at the plenary session of the IMF-World Bank 2012 Annual Meetings in Tokyo, Lagarde said top priority was for the world to get beyond the current crisis and to restore sufficient growth to generate jobs for the millions of unemployed. Getting stronger growth would also help tackle the huge debt overhang in advanced economies-the highest level since World War II.
Speaking at the Tokyo International Forum conference center, Lagarde told delegates from 188 countries that, in many ways, Asian dynamism symbolizes the future of the world. From the Middle East to Africa, the world was going through rapid change, but also faced major challenges, said Lagarde. In bringing an end to the crisis, the first priority would be to restore growth.
"Without growth, the future of the global economy is in jeopardy," she said. Restoring growth would be essential to address the huge legacy of public debt-now averaging almost 110 percent of GDP for the advanced economies. She said it was urgent to complete the agenda for financial sector reform "to move beyond the system that gave us the crisis."
At the same time Lagarde expressed concern that reform momentum is waning, calling for action on better regulation, better supervision, better resolution of cross-border entities, and better internal incentives in financial institutions.
But, rejecting "unfettered globalization," she told delegates growth must be inclusive and benefit all, pointing to IMF research that shows less inequality is linked to greater macroeconomic stability and more sustainable growth. She said this had profound policy implications.
"It means focusing on efficiency but also keeping equity in mind when setting fiscal policy. It means fairness in sharing the burden of adjustment, and protecting the weak and vulnerable. It means better financial inclusion, so that all have access to credit and financial markets.
It means better transparency and governance, so that the doors of opportunity are open to all-and if they close, one knows why," Lagarde stated.