Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, is on a mission. She’s off to three countries in Southeast Asia to try to show that the IMF is still relevant to a region that is increasingly self-reliant, and also to express gratitude for contributions Malaysia and the Philippines made to boost the IMF’s funds when the U.S. and Canada declined to do so.
Bloomberg reported Wednesday that Lagarde was to conclude her week-long Asian odyssey in Cambodia, where the East Asia Summit will begin on Tuesday. At the summit she will meet with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the heads of other countries, including President Obama.
After the 1997 Asian financial crisis compelled some countries to adhere to IMF austerity policies, feelings ran high against the institution and spurred nations in the region to take steps to handle their own financial well-being. To that end, said Eswar Prasad in the report, they undertook to boost their own currency reserves and strengthen ties with one another.