Gita Gopinath, the first female Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), is set to leave the multilateral lending agency for the prestigious Harvard University in January next year after serving a tenure of three years.
Prior to leaving Harvard for the IMF to commence her work, a statement from the IMF, disclosed that, Ms. Gopinath was initially extended a leave of absence for one year, which permitted her to work for the IMF for three years.
“Gita Gopinath, the Fund’s Chief Economist and Director of the Research Department, intends to leave the Fund in January 2022 and return to Harvard University’s Economics Department as planned, when her public service leave ends.”Kristalina Georgieva
Kristalina Georgieva, the Managing Director of the IMF, applauded Ms. Gopinath, as the first woman to serve in the top economics post, for her critical analysis during the pandemic.
“Gita’s contribution to the Fund and our membership has been truly remarkable, quite simply, her impact on the IMF’s work has been tremendous.
“We [IMF] benefitted immensely from her sharp intellect and deep knowledge of international finance and macroeconomics as we navigate through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.”Kristalina Georgieva
Ms. Gopinath, according to the IMF, heads the IMF’s research department which produces the quarterly World Economic Outlook report with its closely watched GDP growth forecasts.
Madam Georgieva stated that, “Gita also won the respect and admiration of colleagues in the Research Department across the Fund, and throughout the membership for leading analytically rigorous work and policy-relevant projects with high impact and influence”.
According to Ms. Georgieva, Gopinath played a key role in setting global vaccination targets to end the Covid-19 pandemic.
She also helped with setting up a Climate Change team inside the IMF to analyse, among other things, optimal climate mitigation policies, Georgieva disclosed.
Ms. Gopinath’s journey so far
The 49-year-old renowned Indian American Economist, prior to joining Harvard University in 2005, served as an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago in 2001. Ms. Gopinath became a tenured Professor in 2010.
At Harvard University, she served as the John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and Economics at Harvard University before she joined the Washington-based global lender.
According to a statement released by the IMF, as “part of her many significant initiatives, Ms. Gopinath co-authored the ‘Pandemic Paper’ on how to end the COVID-19 pandemic that set globally endorsed targets for vaccinating the world”.
This work, the IMF disclosed, led to the creation of the Multilateral Task Force made up of the leadership of the IMF, the World Bank, the World Trade Organisation, and the World Health Organisation to help end the pandemic.
Also, she led the establishment of a working group with vaccine manufacturers to identify trade barriers, supply bottlenecks, and accelerate delivery of vaccines to low- and lower-middle income countries, the statement revealed.
Madam Georgieva appreciating Ms. Gopinath, said, “I would like to express my personal appreciation to Gita for her impressive contributions, her always wise counsel, her devotion for the mission of the Research Department and the Fund more broadly, as well as her widely recognised inclusive and accessible approach to colleagues and staff”.