Michel Camdessus, GHF Board Member

Michel Camdessus
Member, Commission for Africa; Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, 1987-2000; Governor, Bank of France, 1984-1987


For 13 years, (1987-2000) Michel Camdessus was Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund. He was also a member of the Commission for Africa and is currently a member of the Africa Progress Panel (APP). Widely published on a broad range of topics, the French economist has proposed reforms in France and called for “globalization with a human face.”

Born in Bayonne in southwestern France, Michel Camdessus was educated at the University of Paris and earned post-graduate degrees in economics at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (‘Sciences Po’) and the Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA). ENA is usually a path to high positions in the French civil service and Camdessus took that path.

Between 1960 when he joined the Treasury and 1984 when he was appointed Governor of the Bank of France, Camdessus held important posts in Paris and Brussels. After serving as Financial Attache to the French delegation at the European Economic Community in Brussels from 1966 to 1968, he returned to the Treasury in Paris and in 1982 became its director. Between 1978 and 1984 Camdessus was chairman of the Paris Club and for the final two years the chairman of the Monetary Committee of the EEC.

His years at the Paris Club, the main forum for rescheduling debt between countries, gained him considerable respect from developing countries. Later, while head of IMF, a new debt strategy was introduced. It included use of the IMF’s own resources to help countries finance interest payments in debt reduction operations.

Among the most important events of his tenure was the East Asian financial crisis. At one point Camdessus called for a doubling of member countries’ total contributions, or quotas, as well as for a better representation of developing and emerging countries, and a broadening of the mandate of the IMF to oversee global financial issues. However, this plan did not get the necessary support. He retired from the IMF in February 2000.

Camdessus’ interest in Africa went back to the early 1970s when he became administrator of the Central Bank of West African States. His interest would eventually lead to his participation in the Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa, and the APP, an independent authority on Africa whose role is to focus the attention of world leaders on delivering their commitments to the continent. In June of the past year the Panel issued a major report, entitled “Africa’s Development: Promises and Prospects,” in London.

The French economist is the Honorary President of the Semaines Sociales de France. He has also served as Chairman of the World Panel on Financing Water Infrastructure.

After his departure from the IMF, Michael Camdessus was named by the Vatican a member of the Papal Commission on Justice and Peace. He lectures frequently on subjects like “The Sustainability of Development”, “Globalization and the Future of Humankind” and “Ethics and Finance in a Globalizing World.” (P.Ress)


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