Christine LaGarde paid a visit to Lisbon yesterday for the annual meeting of the African Development Bank (yes, it’s based in Tunis, not Lisbon, but has its meetings in a different member country each year). The Washington Post reports that the finance minister of Congo-Brazzaville, Matata Mapon, indicated that the French-speaking African countries that make up the smallest constituency on the IMF board would support her candidacy. “‘We are encouraged by your vision,’ Mapon said to Lagarde, according to wire service reports from Portugal, adding that he thought she would be “benevolent” toward African countries.” The endorsement obviously does not add much numerically to Lagarde’s vote total (the 22 countries control just 1.55% of the board votes; for comparison the U.S. alone controls 16.78%), but it is very important symbolically for her to win African support. Cynics might say that it would mean more to get anglophone Africa, since the francophone countries still often follow France’s lead.
In another tidbit, the article mentions that the court decision expected yesterday on whether Lagarde would face a formal investigation for overstepping authority in a case in which her decision led to a €450m government liability was delayed until July 8. Since the IMF says it wants the decision on the new Managing Director made by June 30, that means those voting will not know if the potential new M.D. will be facing an immediate court case in France.