On Thursday, September 16th, 2016, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ms. Christine Lagarde, announced the appointment of Abebe Aemro Selassie as the Director of the IMF’s African Department with effect from September 19, 2016. He will be taking over from Antoinette Sayeh, who retired in August this year, after holding the position for eight years.

“Abe brings a profound understanding of Africa, having worked with policymakers from the region for much of his career,” said Lagarde.

His was appointed based on his ability to provide intellectual leadership, a track record of building collaborative relationships, analytical depth, and warm collegiality.

His top priorities will be:

  • To proffer ways to solve the challenges facing Africa in health, policy, and infrastructure
  • To provide assessments of government policies in Africa
  • To ensure that the IMF remains relevant in Africa

Abebe’s success story

Abebe is an Ethiopian. He obtained his first degree in Economics from the London polytechnic. In order to rise in his career, he proceeded to the London School of Economics where he obtained a master’s degree in Economic History.

Prior to his appointment as the Director of the IMF’s African Department, Abebe was Chief of the African Department’s Regional Studies Division. He has worked in the private sector, the government, and the IMF.

He worked as the IMF’s senior resident representative in Uganda, served as mission chief for South Africa and led the work on the Regional Economic Outlook. He also served in various African countries which include Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, and Kenya, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

His most recent achievement was overseeing the IMF’s effort to assist the three Ebola-stricken countries.

Before joining the IMF, Mr. Selassie worked for the Economist Intelligence Unit, specializing in sovereign credit risk issues, and then for the Ethiopian government as Principal Economist in the Office of the President.

The IMF Boss believes so much in Abebe’s ability to succeed is his new position having worked with him in several projects.

‘‘Having had the opportunity to work with Abe over the last five years, I have been struck by his sound judgement, integrity, and commitment to teamwork,” said Christine.

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