IMF Seminar: Debate on the Global Economy


DATE: April 8, 2021

DAY: Thursday

12:00 PM - 12:45 PM


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The recovery from the COVID-19 crisis continues, albeit with uncertainty and varying prospects across countries. Rapid and global access to effective vaccines and therapies remains critical to fostering inclusive growth. Join this debate on the global economic outlook.

Join the conversation via #GlobalEcon

IMF Seminar: Debate on the Global Economy

One year into the pandemic, the world is still grappling with repercussions in terms of global health, economic and social conditions. The panelists discussed the major challenges and opportunities facing the global economy.

Key Points:

  • Vaccine. The panelists concurred that global access to vaccines—especially quicker vaccine rollout in vulnerable countries—will be critical for the global economic recovery. Georgieva called for the need to give a “fair shot” to everyone, stressing that rapid vaccination is a key economic policy measure. Powell echoed that facilitating vaccination around the world is not only the right thing to do, but also the smart thing to do. Citing the stark gap between vaccination rates in low-income and advanced economies, Okonjo-Iweala stated that it will take a long time for the world to recover if the current asynchronous vaccination rates continue. Donohoe, also president of the Eurogroup, noted that the European Union (EU) is overcoming difficulties in its inoculation drive and making progress toward its goal to vaccinate 70 percent of its adult population by the summer.
  • Inequality. As the pandemic has turned out to be more devastating for vulnerable people around the world, panelists called for a greater attention to the increasing inequality. Georgieva noted that low-skilled, female, and young workers are likely to be more severely hit by the crisis. Donohoe said it was critical to protect incomes of the most vulnerable groups that had been disproportionately impacted by the crisis. Powell also highlighted the larger economic fallout on low-income workers in the U.S. and the need for support.
  • Global action. Panelists encouraged closer global coordination to tide over the crisis, invest for the future, and boost global trade. Georgieva highlighted the importance of increased investment to address climate change and to reskill workers. While green and digital economic transition will attract huge investments, Donohoe pointed to the need to equip workers with the necessary skills to benefit from the new opportunities. Okonjo-Iweala stated that a strong multilateral trading system would contribute to the global economic recovery, calling for international coordination to support and strengthen the WTO.


 “ This year and next year, vaccine policy is economic policy.” Kristalina Georgieva

“ Until the world really is vaccinated, we will all be at risk of new mutations and we won't be able to resume activity with confidence all around the world.” Jerome Powell

An open, transparent, and fair multilateral trading system is best for the whole world.” Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala


Moderator: Sara Eisen

Sara Eisen is co-anchor of CNBC’s “Closing Bell”. She is known for her deep expertise in financial markets and the global economy as well as regular news making interviews with some of the most prominent names in the financial world. Prior to CNBC, Eisen was co-anchor of “Bloomberg Surveillance” and a correspondent for Bloomberg Television, where she covered global macroeconomics, policy and business. She is the editor of “Currencies After the Crash: The Uncertain Future of the Global Paper-Based Currency System” published by McGraw-Hill.Eisen holds a master’s degree in broadcast journalism with a concentration in business reporting from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. 

Speaker: Kristalina Georgieva

Kristalina Georgieva is the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She is the first person from an emerging market economy to lead the IMF since its inception in 1944. Before joining the Fund, Ms. Georgieva was Chief Executive Officer of the World Bank and also served as Interim President for a time. Previously, she served at the European Commission as Vice President for Budget and Human Resources – and as Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. She was named “European of the Year” and “Commissioner of the Year” by European Voice for her leadership in the European Union’s humanitarian response to crises.

Speaker: Jerome Powell

Jerome H Powell

Jerome H. Powell took office as Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System on February 5, 2018, for a four-year term. Mr. Powell also serves as Chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee. Mr. Powell has served as a member of the Board of Governors since taking office on May 25, 2012. He was reappointed to the Board and sworn in on June 16, 2014, for a term ending January 31, 2028.

Prior to his appointment to the Board, Mr. Powell was a visiting scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C. He has also served as An Assistant Secretary and Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

He received an AB in politics from Princeton University and a law degree from Georgetown University.

Speaker: Paschal Donohoe

Paschal Donohoe

Paschal Donohoe is the Minister for Finance for Ireland and President of the Eurogroup. He was appointed as Finance Minister in June 2017, at which point he held the position of Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. This was the only time a Minister held both the finance portfolios. He was appointed as President of the Eurogroup last July. He has previously served as the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and also the Minister for European Affairs. He was elected to the Irish Parliament in February 2011, where he topped the poll in his constituency. Paschal is a graduate of Trinity College, with a degree in Politics and Economics.

Speaker: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).She is an economist and international development expert with over 30 years of experience. Shewas Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (2016 –2020), theAfrican Risk Capacity (2014 –2020) and Co-Chair of The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.Previously, she served as Senior Advisor at Lazard and sat on the Boards of Standard Chartered PLC and Twitter Inc. Dr Okonjo-Iweala was appointed as anAU COVID-19 Special Envoy and WHO COVID-19 Special Envoy.Dr Okonjo-Iweala served twice as Nigeria’s Finance Minister (2003-2006, 2011-2015), the first woman to hold the position, and spent a 25-year career at the World Bank rising to the No. 2 position ofManaging Director. In 2020 Dr Okonjo-Iweala was named Forbes African of the Year. She has been ranked by Fortune as one of the 50 Greatest World Leaders (2015) and by Forbes as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the World consecutively for four years. She holds a Bachelor’s in Economics from Harvard University and a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.