Norman K. Humphreys
The fight against worldwide inflation was the main theme of the Finance Ministers and central bank Governors from 138 member countries that participated in the 1979 Annual Meeting of the Fund’s Board of Governors in Belgrade last October. Unlike the agenda for the 1978 Meeting, which contained a number of single issues, such as quota increases and SDR allocations, requiring specific decisions and action, the 1979 Meeting was devoted principally to a wide-ranging discussion of the world’s economic problems. Other major themes discussed at the Meeting were as follows:
A growing number of poor developing countries were approaching a critical economic situation in their external payments.
The Fund’s role in the international monetary system should be enlarged and strengthened, particularly in respect to its surveillance over the exchange rate policies of its members, and improvements made in certain of the Fund’s financing facilities.
A substitution account, if properly designed, could be a useful step in the evolution of the international monetary system.
A unified call from the developing countries to move toward a new international economic order, together with the preparation by these countries of an Outline for a Program of Action on International Monetary Reform.
As in previous years, the plenary sessions of the Annual Meeting were preceded by meetings of two Committees—the Interim Committee of the Fund’s Board of Governors on the International Monetary System, and the Development Committee (or, to give the full title, the Joint Ministerial Committee of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank and the Fund on the Transfer of Real Resources to Developing Countries). There was also a number of other meetings of various groups of countries—the Group of Ten industrial countries, the Group of 24 (representing some nonaligned nations), and, at the invitation of the Yugoslav authorities, the Finance Ministers of the Group of 77 (non-aligned countries). Nearly 6,000 participants attended the meetings.