The world economic outlook and the IMF’s strategic direction are expected to take center stage when the world’s finance ministers and central bank governors meet in Washington, D.C., on April 22 for the Spring Meeting of the IMF’s International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC). Also likely to be discussed are the status of the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative and debt sustain-ability in low-income countries.
After months of intensive internal debate and wide-ranging external commentary, the IMF’s strategic review, initiated by Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato, will move into the implementation stage with de Rato’s presentation of a report to the IMFC, the Fund’s policy steering committee. Also expected to be taken up is a paper outlining the IMF’s policy agenda over the near term and the state of the world economy, which will be discussed against the backdrop of the analysis and projections contained in the April 2006 World Economic Outlook (WEO).
The joint World Bank–IMF Development Committee will meet on April 23. It is expected to address a range of issues, among them the Global Monitoring Report, 2006: Strengthening Mutual Accountability—Aid, Trade, and Governance, and the role that clean energy can play in development.
Prior to the Spring Meetings, several events will serve as curtain raisers for the issues to be debated by the world’s finance and development officials. In an April 20 address at the Institute for International Economics, de Rato will outline his vision for IMF reform. On April 19, IMF Economic Counselor Raghuram Rajan will brief the press on the new WEO’s economic projections. In addition, the Group of 24 developing countries will meet on the morning of April 21 and later that day brief the press on its proceedings. On April 25, African finance ministers will hold a press briefing on regional developments. For more information on the Spring Meetings, please consult the IMF’s website (www.imf.org).
IMF and World Bank to accelerate, deepen review of collaboration
The IMF and the World Bank announced that they are accelerating and deepening a scheduled review of Fund-Bank collaboration. In a joint statement on March 29, IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato and World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz announced the creation of the six-member External Review Committee, which will be assisted by a joint task force made up of senior staff from both institutions.
The External Review Committee will comprise Michael Callaghan, Executive Director, Australian Treasury’s Revenue Group, and a former IMF Executive Director; Caio Koch-Weser, Vice Chair, Deutsche Bank, and former German Finance Secretary and World Bank Managing Director; Pedro Malan, Chair, Unibanco and former Brazilian Minister of Finance; William McDonough, Vice Chair of Merrill Lynch and former President of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of New York; Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Indonesia’s Minister of Finance and a former IMF Executive Director; and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigerian Minister of Finance and a former Vice President and corporate secretary of the World Bank Group. Mark Allen, Director, IMF Policy Development and Review Department, and Danny Leipziger, Vice President, World Bank Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network, will serve as advisors and facilitate the commitee’s communication with the staffs of the two institutions.
The review committee is expected to solicit a broad and representative sample of views on the nature and practice of Fund-Bank collaboration. It will explore whether the existing arrangements provide a sufficiently clear foundation for collaboration, whether established areas of responsibility are consistent with institutional mandates, whether the present “lead agency concept” works well, and whether the institutions can be held sufficiently accountable under this approach while still coordinating their efforts.
The review committee is expected to recommend specific improvements in Fund-Bank collaboration on country work, including on policy advice, lending operations, and technical assistance. It will also explore how collaboration can be tailored to suit members’ differing circumstances. In addition, the committee will look into the improvements that can be made on thematic work, including on financial sector issues (Financial Sector Assessment Programs), trade policy, standards and codes, debt sustainability analysis in low-income countries, the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper process, growth prospects, donor coordination, and implementation of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative. A final report will be presented to the managements of the IMF and the World Bank before the end of 2006.
For more information, see the IMF’s website (www.imf.org).