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Mr. James M. Boughton

The International Monetary Fund (IMF, or the Fund) was created toward the end of the Second World War as part of an attempt to build a new, more stable international economic system and avoid the costly mistakes of the previous decades. Over the past 60 years, it has continued to change and adapt. But since its inception, it has been shaped by history and molded by the economic and political ideas of the time.

Michel Camdessus


Thank you for giving me the honor of speaking with you on the occasion of this Summit of the Organization of African Unity. I am all the more conscious of this honor because this meeting is taking place at this particular point in time. Despite all the tragedies besetting it, Africa is moving forward. Economic growth has resumed in most of the continent, and your countries are reaping the fruits of implementing sound economic policies.

Elisa Diehl

The global economy is showing signs of recovering from the financial crises of the previous two years, according to the governors representing the IMF’s 182 member countries. Speaking during the plenary sessions of the 1999 Annual Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank, held on September 28–30 in Washington, D.C. most governors nonetheless cautioned that great care would be necessary to nurture the recovery, which they considered fragile. A second key message to emerge from the governors’ addresses was one of unanimous support for the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and approval of the strengthened link between poverty reduction and debt relief.

Mr. David Burton, Ms. Wanda S Tseng, and Mr. Kenneth H Kang

Asia Rising -- explores Asia's role in the world economy, the challenges faced from globalization, the quest for greater regional financial integration, the problem of lagging investment, and why East Asia performed so much better than Latin America. It also looks at the recovery of Japan and the rise of India and China. The economies of the ASEAN-4 come under the microscope in Country Focus. Other articles examine financial sector reform in Africa and the remaining hurdles to financial integration in the European Union. People in Economics profiles Paul Krugman, Back to Basics focuses on hedge funds, and the Straight Talk column looks at the problem of underdevelopment.

International Monetary Fund

The Greek economy is teetering owing to heavy public debt and loss of market access. Greece is adopting an ambitious comprehensive multiyear adjustment program to lower the fiscal deficit and the debt ratio, reduce domestic demand in line with capacity, and increase supply and competitiveness so that the economy can step onto a higher growth path led by investments and exports. Greece needs a strong and sustained adjustment program to lower the fiscal deficit substantially and create the basis for a declining debt ratio.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

The Web edition of the IMF Survey is updated several times a week, and contains a wealth of articles about topical policy and economic issues in the news. Access the latest IMF research, read interviews, and listen to podcasts given by top IMF economists on important issues in the global economy.

Mr. Jeremy Clift

This paper highlights that the Washington Consensus helped fill the need for an economic policy framework following the discrediting of central planning and import-substitution trade strategies. Latin American governments championed the Consensus in the early 1990s, and the policy agenda delivered some of the things it was supposed to—healthier budgets, lower inflation, lower external debt ratios, and economic growth. But unemployment rose in many countries and poverty remained widespread, while the emphasis on market openness made states vulnerable to the side effects of globalization.

Jagdish Bhagwati, Douglas A. Irwin, Lex Rieffel, Mr. Jack Boorman, Ann Pettifor, and Mr. Prakash Loungani

This paper presents a snapshot of changes in the world’s health and demographic conditions. The paper highlights that in most parts of the world, individuals are healthier and living longer, thanks to improved health services and living conditions and the more widespread use of immunization, antibiotics, and better contraceptives. Although this trend is likely to continue, hopes are fading in some regions where progress slowed or stopped in the 1990s, primarily as a result of the AIDS epidemic. Moreover, most regions of the developing world will not reach the Millennium Development Goals for health by 2015.

Alexandre Lamfalussy, Peter Bauer, Bob Woodward, Justin Martin, and Schlitzer Giuseppe

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.