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International Monetary Fund

Abstract

With every twist and turn in the global financial crisis that started in 2007, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been at the heart of efforts to restore financial stability and return the world economy to sustainable growth. This year was no exception. The Fund was focused intensely on providing the financing, policy advice, and technical assistance that members need to manage economic and financial risks and achieve lasting growth. New nonconcessional financing arrangements were initiated for seven countries. At the same time, the institution was pursuing many strands of work to strengthen its approach to surveillance and policy design, to improve the instruments in its lending toolkit, and to improve the governance structure of the organization.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

After a major setback in late 2011, global economic prospects gradually improved in early 2012, but concerns over the strength of the recovery resurfaced in the second quarter. Stronger activity in the United States and policies in the euro area in response to its deepening economic crisis helped to address the sharp deterioration in financial conditions and boost market confidence in the first few months of 2012. However, downside risks remained elevated at the end of FY2012, and markets were jittery as concerns about sovereign debt in parts of Europe and pressure on the European banking sector resurfaced.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

The IMF continued in FY2012 to respond flexibly to members’ financing needs in an environment of heightened global uncertainty. The demand for Fund resources remained strong and commitments increased further, although at a slower pace compared to the previous year.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

Faced with lower fiscal buffers than before the onset of the crisis in 2008, and given uncertain prospects for donor assistance in the future, low-income countries remained highly exposed during FY2012 to global shocks. The IMF worked on several fronts to help low-income countries deal with these and other ongoing challenges they face. In addition to the concessional financing the Fund provided to low-income countries during the year, and the additional concessional resources it secured through use of windfall gold sale profits (see Chapter 3), as well as new borrowing agreements signed to support financing for low-income countries (see Chapter 5), the Executive Board took up a number of issues particularly pertinent to low-income countries during the year. Debt issues were addressed in Board reviews of the HIPC Initiative and MDRI, as well as of the IMF–World Bank debt sustainability framework for low-income countries. Additionally, the Board examined ways of managing global growth risks and commodity price shocks in these countries.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

Quota subscriptions (see Web Box 5.1) are a major source of the IMF’s financial resources. The IMF’s Board of Governors conducts general quota reviews at regular intervals (at least every five years), allowing the IMF to assess the adequacy of quotas in terms of members’ financing needs and its own ability to help meet those needs, and to modify members’ quotas to reflect changes in their relative positions in the world economy, thus ensuring that the decision-making mechanism of the international financial system evolves with the changing structure of the global economy. The most recent of these reviews, the Fourteenth General Review of Quotas, was concluded in December 2010.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

This evaluation assesses the IMF’s engagement with countries in fragile and conflict-affected situations (hereafter referred to as fragile states or FCS). The role of the IMF in fragile states has been the subject of considerable debate. It is generally recognized that, with its crisis response and prevention mandate, the IMF has a key role to play in international efforts to help these countries, but critics say that it does not sufficiently appreciate the deep-rooted nature of the difficulties such states face or provide financial and technical resources commensurate with their challenges. While many of the issues that demand attention in these countries are outside the IMF’s core competence, and the Fund often has to operate in an environment where key decisions including by the international community are made at the political level, there have been recurrent calls for the IMF to increase and enhance its engagement. The evaluation explores these and other relevant issues by reviewing the IMF’s overall approaches and how the institution has engaged with a sample of current and former fragile states.1

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

To assess the IMF’s work on FCS, the evaluation poses the following questions:

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

The IMF maintains no formal list of fragile states, and it has relied broadly on the approach taken by the World Bank in identifying such countries for internal purposes. First, a low-income country, eligible for International Development Association (IDA) assistance,10 is considered fragile if the three-year moving average of its Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA) scores, prepared by the World Bank, is 3.2 or lower.11 Second, and in addition, any country is considered fragile if there has been a United Nations or regional peace-keeping/building operation there during the previous three years or if the CPIA has not been computed because of conflict. The IMF’s definition differs from the World Bank’s in that it uses the three-year CPIA average rather than the annual score.12

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

The IMF’s role in fragile states, compared to other member countries, has been particularly important in: (i) providing support in early stages of macroeconomic stabilization after a period of conflict or a natural disaster; (ii) providing a macroeconomic framework valuable for coordinating policies within a country as well as for facilitating engagement by international partners; and (iii) helping to build basic policymaking and institutional capacity in the core areas of IMF expertise. In the view of most stakeholders, the IMF has played its role quite effectively in these areas, though concerns remain that its impact may not have reached full potential.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

The need for collaboration and coordination among development partners in FCS work is well recognized throughout the international donor community; it was highlighted by both the 2007 OECD Principles and the 2011 New Deal Principles. Given the limited capacity of many fragile states, all bilateral donors and multilateral agencies need to collaborate and coordinate, but the need is particularly relevant for the IMF, which is a relatively minor player both as a source of financing and as a provider of technical assistance. Moreover, cooperation to form a unified position can in some instances be the most effective way of engaging with FCS over the highly politically charged issues of corruption and governance-related institutional reform. Among the interviewees for this evaluation, virtually every mission chief or resident representative assigned to a fragile state was keenly aware of the need to collaborate with development partners in order to increase the effectiveness of IMF engagement.