The Japan-IMF Scholarship Program for Asia is a program for graduate studies in macroeconomics or related fields at various universities in Japan. The program is aimed at promising, young officials in central banks or in ministries of finance, economy, or planning in the Asia, Central Asia, and Pacific regions.9 The program, which is operated under the JSA, offers 12- and 24-month scholarships and is in the process of being expanded from the previous 25 scholarships per year to about 50 scholarships each year. For the academic year 2002, 31 scholarships were awarded.10 There are two forms of scholarships. Scholars accepted under the “partnership track” participate in specially designed courses offered by one of four participating universities,11 while the “open track” is available to candidates who have already been accepted to a graduate-level program in macroeconomics or a related field at any leading university in Japan. The program is currently administered by the IMF’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Tokyo.
The IMF began to provide technical assistance to its member countries in the early 1960s in response to requests from newly independent nations in Africa and Asia. By the mid-1980s, resources devoted to technical assistance had nearly doubled. As a result of the expansion of the IMF’s membership and the adoption of market-oriented economies by a large number of countries worldwide, IMF technical assistance activities grew even more rapidly in the early 1990s. The demand increased further in the late 1990s as significant technical assistance resources had to be directed to countries hit by financial crisis. In addition, in recent years, the IMF has had to mount significant efforts to provide prompt policy advice and operational assistance to countries emerging from conflict situations. Currently, the IMF devotes some 350 person years to technical assistance activities, plus some $10 million for training and scholarships annually.5 The delivery of IMF technical assistance over the period FY1998–FY2003 is shown in Figure 1.
The IMF, an international organization of currently 184 member countries, was established in 1946 to promote international monetary cooperation, exchange stability, and orderly exchange arrangements; to provide temporary financial assistance to countries with balance of payments difficulties; and to foster economic growth and high levels of employment. To achieve these objectives, the IMF carries out three types of operational activities: surveillance, financial assistance, and technical assistance.
Japan has provided grant contributions to support the IMF’s technical assistance to member countries since 1990. In 1997, the administered account was amended in order to widen the scope of activities for which contributions could be made to finance other IMF activities in Asia and the Pacific carried out through its Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Tokyo.
This paper discusses Fiscal Year 2003 Annual Report for Japan Administered Account for Selected IMF Activities (JSA). The report consists of a brief description of the IMF and its activities, with a particular focus on its technical assistance activities. It provides greater detail with regard to the JSA and the scholarship programs. It also describes the objectives, size and scope, and use with a focus on fiscal year 2003. The report highlights that in FY2003, JSA financing accounted for 18 percent of total IMF technical assistance, 33 percent of the assistance delivered in the field, and 66 percent of the total external financing.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
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The IMF’s Articles of Agreement call for it to oversee the international monetary system in order to ensure its effective operation, and to exercise firm “surveillance”—that is, oversight, including monitoring and analysis—over its member countries’ exchange rate policies. As decided by the Executive Board, this appraisal of a country’s exchange rate policies must involve a comprehensive analysis of the economic situation and policies of the country, including domestic as well as external policies.
Surveillance lies at the heart of the IMF’s efforts to help prevent economic and financial crises. The Fund has taken a variety of measures in recent years to strengthen its surveillance, reflecting the changing global environment, including the increased importance of international capital flows, and drawing on the lessons of international financial crises. These initiatives aim to encourage members to adopt policies and institutional reforms that make their economies more resilient to potentially harmful developments and financial stress, support sustained and balanced global growth, and contribute to a more stable international financial system.
While crisis prevention has been the main focus of the IMF’s reform agenda, the Fund has also been working to improve the management and resolution of the financial crises that do occur, where it also has a central role. Indeed, a stronger and clearer framework for crisis resolution should make an important contribution to crisis prevention in addition to lessening the number and severity of crises. Evolving reforms of the framework for crisis resolution have been designed to reinforce incentives for countries and their creditors to reach voluntary, market-oriented solutions to their financing problems. To this end, the IMF has sought to combine a clearer policy on access to Fund resources and greater selectivity in its lending with an examination of possible approaches to strengthening the mechanisms for the restructuring of sovereign debt. This chapter describes progress made in these areas during the past financial year.
The IMF provides financial support to member countries under a variety of policies and lending instruments (see Table 8.1). Most forms of IMF financing are made conditional on the recipient country’s adopting policy reforms to correct the underlying problems that gave rise to its need for support.