Poverty conference: Köhler stresses national ownership of reforms

The fight against world poverty is “the most immediate and urgent challenge of the twenty-first century,” IMF Managing Director Horst Köhler said at the opening of an IMF-World Bank international conference on poverty reduction strategies on January 14 in Washington. He noted that his travels to Africa, Asia, and Latin America early in his tenure had helped him define the IMF’s future role in the fight against world poverty. Developing countries, he stressed, welcomed the IMF’s advice, technical assistance, and financial support but believed they themselves had to lead the design of their poverty reduction strategy papers (PRSPs). The IMF has changed, Köhler said, by streamlining conditionality to “make room for true national ownership of reform programs.”

Abstract

The fight against world poverty is “the most immediate and urgent challenge of the twenty-first century,” IMF Managing Director Horst Köhler said at the opening of an IMF-World Bank international conference on poverty reduction strategies on January 14 in Washington. He noted that his travels to Africa, Asia, and Latin America early in his tenure had helped him define the IMF’s future role in the fight against world poverty. Developing countries, he stressed, welcomed the IMF’s advice, technical assistance, and financial support but believed they themselves had to lead the design of their poverty reduction strategy papers (PRSPs). The IMF has changed, Köhler said, by streamlining conditionality to “make room for true national ownership of reform programs.”

The fight against world poverty is “the most immediate and urgent challenge of the twenty-first century,” IMF Managing Director Horst Köhler said at the opening of an IMF-World Bank international conference on poverty reduction strategies on January 14 in Washington. He noted that his travels to Africa, Asia, and Latin America early in his tenure had helped him define the IMF’s future role in the fight against world poverty. Developing countries, he stressed, welcomed the IMF’s advice, technical assistance, and financial support but believed they themselves had to lead the design of their poverty reduction strategy papers (PRSPs). The IMF has changed, Köhler said, by streamlining conditionality to “make room for true national ownership of reform programs.”

Following on the heels of a series of regional workshops last fall (see IMF Survey, January 14), the 3½ day conference brought together around 200 participants from developing countries, donor agencies, and civil society groups, and the IMF and the Bank, to examine the achievements and challenges of the PRSP approach to date. Their input feeds into a Bank-IMF staff review of the PRSP experience and the IMF staff review of its Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). These reviews will be submitted to the Executive Directors of the institutions in March 2002 and to members of the International Monetary and Financial Committee and the Development Committee during the 2002 spring meetings.

The next issue of the IMF Survey will carry a full report on the conference.