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International Monetary Fund. Secretary's Department

Abstract

On behalf of the United States, it’s an honor to welcome you to Washington for your Fiftieth Annual Meeting. And I am especially pleased to have the opportunity to speak to this group at a moment when you can see the fruits of your labors.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

The fifty-fifth Annual Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank will formally open at the Prague Congress Center, Czech Republic, on Tuesday, September 26, in a global environment marked by strong economic growth, including recoveries from the 1997-98 financial crises in emerging markets. The discussions of the governors in the plenary session are likely to focus on ways in which growth can be sustained and progress made in the fight against world poverty. The meetings will be chaired by Trevor Manuel, the South African Finance Minister (see box, page 286). They will also be the first in which Horst Köhler will participate as IMF Managing Director. In his opening address, he is expected to articulate his vision of the IMF of the future.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

This report examines whether the IMF has effectively leveraged an important asset: data. It finds that in general, the IMF has been able to rely on a large amount of data of acceptable quality, and that data provision from member countries has improved markedly over time. Nonetheless, problems with data or data practices have, at times, adversely affected the IMF’s surveillance and lending activities. The roots of data problems are diverse, ranging from problems due to member countries’ capacity constraints or reluctance to share sensitive data to internal issues such as lack of appropriate staff incentives, institutional rigidities, and long-standing work practices. Efforts to tackle these problems are piecemeal, the report finds, without a clear comprehensive strategy that recognizes data as an institutional strategic asset, not just a consumption good for economists. The report makes a number of recommendations that could promote greater progress in this regard.