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The G-20 review of the international financial institutions: your views count

Written by Dirk Willem te Velde


The global financial and economic crisis is hitting low income countries (LICs) hard. LICs are facing several balance of payments shocks including reduced capital inflows, reduced exports, fewer remittances and pressures on aid. Development prospects of LICs are severely weakened. As a result, LICs are increasingly looking towards World Bank programmes to meet development goals and towards IMF programmes to play the counter-cyclical financing role.

As demand for IMF and World Bank programmes increases, ODI is hosting a consultation  to inform the Chair of the G-20 on the adaptability and responsiveness of the IMF and World Bank in supporting strong and sustainable growth in LICs and in protecting LICs better against future crises and shocks. If support is tailored to the specific needs of the recipients, then the International Finance Institutions (IFIs) can be an important facet in the overall support architecture, helping LICs to restore growth and promote crisis resilient growth in the future.

Alongside commitments to increase resources for developing countries through the IFIs and to accelerate governance reform of the IMF and WB, Leaders at the G-20 London Summit on 2 April agreed that:

‘building on the current reviews of the IMF and World Bank we asked the Chairman, working with the G20 Finance Ministers, to consult widely in an inclusive process and report back to the next meeting with proposals for further reforms to improve the responsiveness and adaptability of the International Financial Institutions.’

The UK is working with a range of stakeholders to develop proposals for reform and the ODI and Debt Relief International (DRI) have begun a process of consultation which will finish in mid-August. Today we are launching a web-based consultation on the adaptability and responsiveness of the IMF and the World Bank in LICs and this will be followed by other types of consultation. The G-20 finance ministers will consider emerging conclusions at their meeting on 4-5 September. The final report will be presented to the G-20 Leaders at the Pittsburgh Summit on 24-25 September 2009.

There are two consultations, one on the IMF and the other on the World Bank:

  • The IMF’s purpose is to promote economic stability to underpin growth and to provide immediate and short-term financial assistance to countries to address their balance of payments problems. Dealing with shocks and crises is central to the IMF’s core competence and mission. The IMF has increased its lending considerably and relaxed its conditionalities, yet there are also questions about the adequacy of the overall shock facilities and the way in which IMF programmes address the specific needs of the LICs and promote strong and sustainable growth in LICs. To post your thoughts on the IMF and its response to the global financial crisis on LICs, click here
  • The World Bank’s role is to provide financing to member countries to enable them to pursue their development goals. It has an important role complementing the IMF by helping protect medium-term development plans and sustaining progress towards the MDGs. The World Bank has also stepped up its lending and established a range of new or enhanced shock facilities, including for the private sector. Are these facilities being used? Are they adequate and effective? And how can the shock facilities at the Bank be improved so that they are ready to respond to future crises and promote stronger and sustainable growth in LICs? We’d like to know your answers to these questions. Post your comment by clicking here.

Find out more about the consultation by reading the brief from DFID. There are a number of ways you can respond – you can post a blog with your thoughts on the IMF  or the World Bank , or comment on the views of someone else. To post a blog, use the response template  or just send an email to us at [email protected]. We would especially like to hear from stakeholders in LICs, including business, academia, NGOs and government. Your thoughts and views will be greatly appreciated and will encourage and facilitate an insightful debate on how the WB and IMF can promote stronger and sustainable economic growth in LICs and, protect them better against future shocks and crises.