July 22, 2016
The Director of the African Department at the International Monetary Fund, Ms. Antoinette Sayeh, who has been instrumental in shaping some of the Fund’s recent policy reforms, in particular changing the Fund’s approach to the African continent and helping champion the 2010 confessional lending facilities which includes the debt limits policy, will retire from the Fund at the end of next month.

IMF African Director Antoinette Sayeh

IMF African Director Antoinette Sayeh

Ms. Sayeh informed the IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde in early June of her plan to leave the fund effective August 31.

A former Minister of Finance for Liberia from 2006 through 2008, Ms. Sayeh led efforts that helped purge her country’s debt arrears after it emerged from a decade of civil war.  She subsequently joined the IMF in July 2008.

In a statement, Ms. Lagarde commended Ms. Sayeh’s work at the IMF, especially her efforts at improving the Fund’s relations with African member countries at a crucial time during the 2008 global financial crisis when surging food and fuel prices were undercutting living standards on the continent.

“Antoinette navigated these and later challenges with her trademark skills of quiet, effective diplomacy, deep analytical capability, and an unrivaled understanding of the challenges facing her continent,” Ms. Lagarde said.

During her eight years at the IMF, Ms. Sayeh oversaw efforts that improved the efficacy of the Fund’s technical assistance in Africa, with a sharper focus on institution building, especially in fragile states. She and her team contributed to some of the Fund’s pertinent reforms and policies, including the changes that enabled the Fund to provide emergency financing and debt relief to the three countries hit by the Ebola crisis in 2014.

“As the Director of the African Department for the past eight years, Antoinette has been enormously influential in cementing the IMF’s relations with our African member countries and “has been a great leader of the African Department, a respected colleague, a friend and a mentor to many. Her dedication is unparalleled and her contribution to the Fund has been truly outstanding,” Ms. Lagarde added.

The Fund said in a statement that the search process to pick a successor to Ms. Sayeh is underway.
Prior to her role as the Minister of Finance of Liberia, Ms. Sayeh worked at the World Bank for 17 years.

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