Abstract

The IMF is a cooperative intergovernmental monetary and financial institution with near universal membership. Its policies and activities are guided by its charter, known as the Articles of Agreement (the Articles), and are conducted under a decision-making structure that has evolved over the years (see Box 1). The IMF is unique among intergovernmental organizations in its combination of regulatory, consultative, and Financial functions, which derive from the purposes for which it was established (see Box 2): to promote international monetary cooperation; to facilitate the balanced growth of international trade; to promote exchange rate stability; to assist in the establishment of a multilateral system of payments and in the elimination of foreign exchange restrictions that hamper the growth of world trade; to make its resources available to its members to correct balance of payments imbalances without resorting to trade and payments restrictions; and to provide a forum for consultation and collaboration on international monetary problems. Thus, the IMF is concerned not only with the problems of individual countries but also with the working of the international monetary system as a whole. Its activities focus on promoting policies and strategies through which its members can work together to ensure a stable world financial system and sustainable economic growth.