Every year the Bretton Woods Project highlights some of the most ridiculous remarks of Fund and Bank staff. This year we recognise Rachel Kyte’s mission to tackle climate change and Christine Lagarde’s ‘more-is-less’ approach to speech-making.
In a Financial Times feature profile in January, Rachel Kyte, the World Bank Group vice president and special envoy for climate change, just happened to mention in passing that Bank President Jim Kim “has asked me to take on climate change”. This was as she prepared for “another gruelling trip across the globe, culminating in back-to-back meetings in Davos”. Meanwhile, in a video in March on the importance of limiting temperature increases Kyte revealed that she “grew up in a warm family” and that the number she thought about all of the time was the number 2, which is a “small number with very big problems”. She managed to keep a straight face ending the video: “the most powerful part of the number 2 is that it’s about us, it’s about me and you”.
Another winner is IMF managing director, Christine Lagarde, who once again demonstrated her infamous gift for local idioms at the London School of Economics Amartya Sen lecture in June 2014. In a speech about empowerment she found solutions to capacity-building in the most obvious of places – Charlotte Brontë – quoting: “Liberty lends us her wings, and Hope guides us by her star”. Let’s hope that this guiding star will help Lagarde fly the Fund to some better ideas in 2015.