Journal Issue

Spring meetings preview

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Published Date:
March 2003
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IMF–World Bank spring meetings: Ministers to explore ways to stoke recovery, prevent financial crises, and reduce poverty

For key financial and monetary officials meeting at IMF headquarters on April 12, the top priority will be finding ways to reignite the global economic recovery, which has been sputtering in recent months amid uncertainty surrounding military conflict in Iraq and its effects on oil prices, equity markets, and business confidence.

The seventh meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) will also focus on strengthening the international community’s capacity to prevent and resolve the types of financial crises that have buffeted emerging market economies since the mid-1990s and on accelerating the fight against world poverty. The IMFC, which will be chaired by U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, comprises 24 IMF Governors, who are finance ministers, central bank governors, or others of comparable rank representing the IMF’s 184 member countries.

In its discussions of the global economy and financial markets, the IMFC is expected to focus on the outlook, risks, and needed policy responses. In introductory remarks to the IMFC, IMF Managing Director Horst Köhler is most likely to suggest the policy actions that member countries should take to ensure that a lasting recovery of growth can resume later this year. He is also expected to outline how the IMF can help Iraq rebuild its economy and lay the groundwork for recovery, and help other member countries suffering the economic consequences of the conflict.

On the IMF’s policy agenda, Köhler is likely to draw on reports to the IMFC on recent efforts to strengthen IMF surveillance and crisis prevention; ways of improving crisis resolution (including a concrete proposal for a sovereign debt restructuring mechanism for countries with unsustainable debt problems, as well as efforts to promote the adoption of collective action clauses in sovereign bonds, and proposals for a voluntary Code of Good Conduct); and on the implementation of initiatives to support low-income countries. The IMFC will also receive progress reports on combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism; IMF quotas and governance; the IMF’s transparency policy; and the activities of the IMF’s Independent Evaluation Office.

Ministers and other senior officials of the Group of 24, representing developing country members, will meet on April 11, under the chairmanship of Fuad Siniora, Lebanon’s Minister of Finance. The meetings will conclude on April 13, with a meeting of the Development Committee, a joint committee of IMF and World Bank Governors. It will be chaired by Trevor Manuel, South Africa’s Finance Minister. Besides joint IMF—World Bank reports on poverty, debt relief, and money laundering and terrorist financing, ministers are expected to review reports detailing progress to date in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and on enhancing the voice and participation of developing and transition countries in the Bretton Woods institutions.

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