Washington (AFP)

A former Liberia finance minister, Antoinette Sayeh, will become deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) effective March 16, the Washington institution announced on Tuesday in a statement.

It was the Fund's director, Kristalina Georgieva, who herself proposed this appointment after the departure of the administrative director, Carla Grasso, announced in early February.

Requested by AFP, the IMF was unable to say whether Ms. Sayeh, a Liberian national and former finance minister of that country from 2006 to 2008, before joining the IMF as director of the Africa department, would replace this last in office.

"Antoinette is very well known and highly respected for having occupied (at the IMF) the post of director of the Africa department between 2008 and 2016 where she led a significant transformation of the Fund's relations with our African member countries", commented Kristalina Goergieva, quoted in the press release.

Since 2016, Ms. Sayeh has been an emeritus member of the Center for Global Development (CGD).

As Minister of Finance in the aftermath of the conflict that Liberia had experienced, Ms. Sayeh had piloted the clearance of the arrears, long accumulated, of the country's multilateral debt.

She also managed negotiations with the Paris Club and worked on the development of the first Poverty Reduction Strategy.

"In doing so, Ms. Sayeh has considerably strengthened Liberia's public finances while promoting the reform of the management of state finances," according to the IMF.

Before entering the government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Ms. Sayeh had worked at the World Bank for 17 years, notably as director of operations for Benin, Niger and Togo and as an economist for Pakistan and Afghanistan.

She holds a BA in economics from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania (USA) and a PhD in international economic relations from the Fletcher School at Tufts University in Massachussetts.

© 2020 AFP