WASHINGTON :International Monetary Fund head Kristalina Georgieva is fully focused on serious global challenges, she said on Tuesday, after the fund’s executive board expressed its full confidence in her leadership.

The IMF executive board on Monday cleared Georgieva, the fund’s managing director, of wrongdoing in a World Bank data-rigging scandal https://www.reuters.com/business/external-review-finds-deeper-rot-world-bank-doing-business-rankings-2021-09-20 that occurred while she was serving as chief executive of the multilateral development bank.

“We have difficult problems to wrestle with and we need the strong standing of the institution to serve the membership,” Georgieva told Reuters in an interview.

Georgieva, a Bulgarian economist and the first person from a developing country to head the global crisis lender, said she plans to meet with IMF staff on Monday after the first week of the IMF and World Bank annual meetings.

“I’m looking forward,” she said, underscoring her concerns that widening divergence between the economic performance of advanced economies and developing ones could jeopardize the global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Asked if the IMF’s credibility had been harmed by the saga, Georgieva said that the alleged data-rigging had taken place in one specific World Bank product, the flagship Doing Business reports, which had faced criticism in the past. She said she had “absolutely full confidence” in the integrity of IMF data.

“I think we will be judged on the totality of our work,” she said, adding that the response to the fund’s World Economic Outlook on Tuesday and her engagements with civil society organizations and government officials reflected a continuing “strong, built-over-decades foundation of trust” in the IMF.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Leslie Adler and Cynthia Osterman)

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