Christine Lagarde, the International Monetary Fund’s managing director, and Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, spoke on Tuesday about their institutions’ priorities ahead of next week’s spring meetings in Washington.
In response to Christine Lagarde's remarks, Chris Stalker, acting head of Oxfam International’s Washington, D.C. office said:
“We are pleased to hear Christine Lagarde continues to make the case for reducing inequality and the need for strong political leadership and cooperation. The more the gap between the richest and the rest continues to grow, the harder it is to end extreme poverty. Worse still, as Lagarde has said before, ‘inequality is sexist,’ as it disproportionately harms women and keeps them in poverty.
“One key way to combat inequality is to end the era of tax havens. As the Panama Papers have recently shown, rich elites will ruthlessly exploit a weak tax system in order to avoid paying their fair share. While we’re disappointed that tax havens were absent from today’s remarks, we hope Lagarde and the IMF push this discussion and the need for action and cooperation at next week’s meetings."
In response to Jim Kim's remarks, Stalker said:
“We are encouraged by Jim Kim’s call for sustained assistance to refugees and the need to fight poverty in vulnerable countries to prevent further displacement. As Kim recognized, shocks like droughts and floods linked to climate change also drive people away from their homes and leave them in danger of falling into poverty.
“In response to a question from the audience, Kim also addressed the Panama Papers tax leak, and mentioned the need for greater transparency in the global tax system. We hope to hear more details from Kim next week on how the World Bank can help lead the efforts to reform the weak and inadequate tax system.
“We were disappointed to hear nothing from Kim on the ongoing review of the World Bank’s social and environmental safeguard protections. These policies are critical for guiding not just the Bank’s work, but the policies of many other financial institutions as well. As the multi-year review nears its end, we hoped Kim would set the stage for a strong outcome and reaffirm that existing protections wouldn’t be watered-down.”