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.
The global economy went through a period of unprecedented financial instability in 2008-09, accompanied by the worst global economic downturn and collapse in trade in many decades. No country escaped the reach of this economic storm. The IMF played a leading role in helping the membership deal with the immediate challenges posed by the crisis and work toward a new, strengthened global financial system. To address these challenges, the Fund focused its efforts on (1) providing policy advice and timely financial support that met members’ needs, (2) analyzing what went wrong, with the aim of fortifying the financial system against a recurrence of crises down the road, and (3) assembling the building blocks of a new international financial architecture. At the same time, the crisis accelerated some elements of the Fund’s work program and redirected resources toward the following areas: advancing surveillance priorities, reforming the Fund’s lending framework, supporting low-income countries, increasing the Fund’s activities in the area of capacity building, reforming the Fund’s corporate governance, and augmenting the Fund’s resources. Work toward modernizing the IMF, which accelerated in FY2008 with the Fund’s restructuring exercise, continued in FY2009,1 and other institutional work focused on strengthening internal accountability and transparency, revamping the institution’s human resources function, and safeguarding the Fund’s finances and other operations, as well as putting the institution on a stronger financial footing.
On the heels of a major financial crisis that originated in advanced country markets in 2007, the global economy sank in 2008-09 into the deepest recession since World War II.4 Although the IMF’s 2008 Annual Report had highlighted the risks from the spreading financial crisis, the crisis advanced further and faster during FY2009 than expected, despite strong policy efforts in key economies. Emerging markets and lowincome countries, which had been relatively sheltered from financial strains owing to their limited exposure to U.S. mortgage-related assets, were drawn into the storm, as international credit markets, trade finance, and many foreign exchange markets also came under heavy pressure.
The extraordinary global financial crisis posed a host of serious policy challenges to most Fund members, as well as systemic risks to the global economy. The full attention of the IMF was directed toward addressing the policy challenges raised by the crisis, including helping governments prepare a full policy framework in countries already in crisis, and for other vulnerable countries, strengthening contingency planning and crisis preparedness and intensifying surveillance. In collaboration with other international bodies and standard setters, the Fund immediately identified the core macroeconomic and financial policy response needed to help minimize the economic and social costs of the crisis. It then worked to encourage early action, promoted dialogue within the membership, and started the critical task of examining the causes of, and gleaning lessons from, the crisis. The Fund helped members directly with financing and policy advice, placing greater emphasis on macrofinancial linkages, contagion risks, financial safety nets, and crisis preparedness and management. It also advised countries to provide support to economic activity wherever space for such support was available.