Christine Lagarde, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director, warned the world’s governments of the upcoming economic storm as growth undershoots expectations. Lagarde told the World Government Summit in Dubai on February 10th that there are four clouds hanging over the global economy; trade tensions, financial tightening, Brexit uncertainty and China's unexpected slowdown. But she mentioned that, "Political determination for the common good," could clear these clouds.
The IMF managing director criticised Britain’s forthcoming departure from the EU saying that after Brexit the British economy will never be as good as it is now. She called on regional governments and financial institutions to do their best to close the funding gap for SMEs, which are largely considered to be the main support of regional economies. Lagarde said that SMEs in the Arab world, "employ half the labour force, yet their access to finance is the lowest in the world,” and added, “Closing this financial inclusion gap – with respect to the average of emerging and developing countries – would yield multiple economic benefits.”
The IMF managing director warned of the risks posed by rising borrowing costs within a context of "heavy debt" racked up by governments, firms and households.
She also pointed out the global impact of trade tensions between US and China. "We have no idea how it is going to pan out but what we know is that it is already beginning to have an effect on trade, on confidence and on markets."
Christine Lagarde also praised the UAE as a model for promoting women, applauding the number of science graduates who are women.