When key financial officials meet at IMF headquarters on April 20, the more promising global economic outlook—and what can be done to ensure continuing recovery in the coming months—will top the agenda. The gathering, the fifth meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), will also focus on recent efforts to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism as well as the international community’s poverty reduction agenda.
The IMFC, which will be chaired by Gordon Brown, the U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer, comprises 24 IMF Governors, who are finance ministers, central bank governors, or others of comparable rank, representing the IMF’s 183 member countries.
The IMFC is expected to discuss the global economic situation and the policies needed to address current risks and vulnerabilities and strengthen global growth. IMF Managing Director Horst Köhler will make introductory remarks, most likely centering on the need to carefully gauge at what point to withdraw measures aimed at stimulating growth, and the need in the years ahead to correct global imbalances.
He is also expected to report on key items on the IMF’s policy agenda. He will draw on reports to the IMFC on strengthening crisis prevention and resolution (including IMF management’s newly revised suggestions for a framework for a sovereign debt restructuring mechanism for countries with debt problems); the IMF’s role in low-income countries; and streamlining conditionality and enhancing country ownership of economic reform programs.
The discussion of the last two items will take place against the backdrop of the recently concluded UN Conference on Financing for Development, in Monterrey, Mexico. Leaders there reaffirmed the two-pillar approach for fighting global poverty (self-help and help for self-help) and pledged to dramatically step up efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals (including halving global poverty by 2015 and ensuring universal primary education; see page 101). Köhler is expected to brief the IMFC on the outcome of the meeting—adoption of the “Monterrey Consensus”—and next steps. He is also expected to report on recent IMF-World Bank reviews of the poverty reduction strategy paper (PRSP) process and debt relief for the heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs), and an IMF review of its Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF).
The committee is also expected to discuss efforts to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism, a topic that took on new urgency in the wake of the tragic events of September 11. And the committee will receive a progress report on the IMF’s Independent Evaluation Office, which was established in the summer of 2001. A press conference by Brown and Köhler will follow the IMFC meeting.
Ministers and other senior officials of the Group of 24, representing the developing country members of the IMF, will meet on April 19. This meeting will be followed the next day by those of the Group of 10 and the IMFC.
The spring meetings will conclude on April 21, 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 the joint IMF-World Bank reports on poverty, debt relief, money laundering, and financing of terrorism, ministers are expected to review a recent World Bank study on the effectiveness of aid and an action plan for accelerating progress toward universal education.