Recent Developments in IMF-CSO Relations

The countdown to the 2006 IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings in Singapore has started, and IMF staff are preparing policy papers and proposals to be discussed by the Fund's International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) and the joint World Bank and IMF Development Committee. On the agenda are a number of proposals related to the IMF's Medium-Term Strategy. One of these—and of great interest to Civil Society Organizations (CSOs)—is the reform of IMF governance. In a July 31 keynote speech at the Washington, DC-based Center for Global Development, IMF Managing Director de Rato also laid out the strategy for the IMF's role in low-income countries, an article summarizes the speech and subsequent discussion. He also elaborated upon the issue of governance in a August 3 speech in Tokyo.

The Annual Meetings will be held on September 19-20 in the Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre, to which all accredited participants have access. Fund and Bank staff, along with CSOs, are organizing a civil society forum. More information can be found at See also the related information in the Bulletin Board.

As reported in the February Civil Society Newsletter, the IMF delivered on its part of the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) in January; 14 of the 20 countries that received MDRI debt relief from IMF, are in Africa. We asked our country teams in the African Department (AFR) to give us an update on how this money is being used. In an interview, AFR Director Abdoulaye Bio-Tchané talks about how the department contributes to the IMF's work in low-income countries.

Feature Article:

De Rato speaks on the IMF's role in low-income countries

In a July 31 speech at the Center for Global Development (CGD) in Washington, DC, IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato reaffirmed the Fund's commitment to low-income countries. A year ago at the G-8 Gleneagles Summit, the international community pledged to support debt reduction and help low-income countries make progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). But much more remains to be done, de Rato said in his speech. The IMF's fundamental task is to promote macroeconomic stability, which is a prerequisite for sustainable growth. Most elements of the Fund's recently unveiled Medium-Term Strategy—such as improving surveillance, enhancing crisis prevention, and correcting global imbalances—will benefit low-income countries just as they benefit developed and emerging market countries. But the Fund has also undertaken measures that specifically target low-income countries.

The Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) was a key step, de Rato said, with the Fund leading international financial institutions in January by moving to provide 100 percent debt relief on debt owed by 19 poor countries. But he also sounded a cautionary note: the challenge now is to avoid another debt crisis. Countries that have benefited from the MDRI must now guard against assuming unsustainable debt now that their debt has been forgiven. Grants and highly concessional loans are also a vital part of the equation. But de Rato stressed that donors need to provide early and predictable commitments of support to allow low-income countries to plan successfully. He also emphasized that aid must be used effectively. "The Fund can help by ensuring that macroeconomic frameworks are sound and that adequate public expenditure . . . systems are put in place, so that scaled-up resource flows reach their targets," he said.

The Fund is committed to making sure that low-income countries have the fiscal space they need to expand social programs, de Rato continued, especially in health and education. The Fund does not advocate cutting back on spending in these areas, even in times of fiscal restraint. Indeed, he observed, many Fund-supported programs include floors on poverty-related spending.

The Fund also has a role in other policy areas critical to economic growth, such as promoting trade reform and supporting sound, well-functioning financial systems. In all these tasks, de Rato stressed, the Fund must cooperate with the World Bank, the donor community, and—most importantly—its member countries.

In the debate that followed, CGD senior fellow Liliana Rojas-Suarez elicited the views of the three panelists. Kemal Dervis, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) welcomed de Rato's words on governance, voice, and greater weight for poor countries in the IMF. But he thought that the IMF seemed less concerned with exchange rate appreciation in middle-income countries than in low-income countries, calling it a policy of "benign neglect" with regard to middle income countries. Ricardo Hausmann, Director of Harvard University's Center for International Development, noted that the Fund's strategy for low-income countries focused too much on poverty reduction and the MDGs and not enough on economic growth—what is needed is a growth strategy for low-income countries, in his view. Dennis de Tray, CGD's Vice President, and a former IMF and World Bank staff member, observed that the IMF has been very successful in crisis management and promoting macroeconomic stability. But he questioned whether the Fund could become open to learning and flexible enough at the country level to contribute significantly to long-term development. Such changes in the IMF's culture would take a long time, he said.

Summarizing the discussion, Rojas-Suarez noted that all seemed to agree that the IMF has a key role to play in low-income countries, but there were questions about whether the institution can adapt to the challenges of development.

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An interview with Abdoulaye Bio-Tchané on prospects for Africa and the Fund's work in low-income countries

Abdoulaye Bio-Tchané has been Director of the IMF's African Department (AFR) since March 2002. He talks about his experience leading the African Department, the prospects for Africa, the Fund's evolving role in low-income countries, and whether there is any truth to criticisms that the IMF restricts fiscal space for critical spending on social sectors.

Q: Mr. Bio-Tchané, you have now been at the Fund for over four years. What have been some highlights of your experience as Director of AFR?

A: I have very much enjoyed these last four years, though they have been hectic and the pace has only continued to accelerate. The many country programs as well as various new initiatives—including the Medium-Term Strategy (MTS)—keep us very busy. Substantively, the implementation of the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) this past year has certainly been a highlight. It has complemented our continuing efforts to move more countries to the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative completion and decision points. I am also pleased to be able to say that we have built better relations with our member countries.

The reorganization of the African Department in 2004 was also a highlight. The objective was to make AFR more responsive to our members, more effective in its work, and more proactive on issues related to sub-Saharan Africa. I believe we have achieved that objective—not just because we have reorganized but also because we received significant additional resources to help us tackle the additional work we have had to take on.

Q: The economic outlook for sub-Saharan Africa has been encouraging lately, with growth rates in the past two or three years above 5 percent. Yet the impact on poverty is still not clear. The Global Monitoring Report suggests that growth rates must be still higher if African countries are to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). What do you think is needed for Africa to make the leap from growth to poverty reduction? Do the higher growth rates in recent years indicate that the continent is starting to turn the corner?

A: I think it's fair to say that the continent may be starting to turn the corner. The growth rate for sub-Saharan Africa last year was the highest in the last 10 years; inflation in 2004 and into 2005 was the lowest in 25 years; fiscal deficits are coming down; and in general countries have more control of their current account deficits. These solid macro results are a good sign for the continent.

But these encouraging trends have only prevailed for two or three years—clearly not enough to make an impact on poverty. For that, the key is to help countries not only achieve higher growth rates but also manage to sustain their growth. That is the agenda that this department, working with other Fund departments, must promote. In so doing, we will need to be focused in our advice, particularly in helping countries to identify growth-critical sectors. For many countries, the priorities will be trade and financial sector reform, strengthening public expenditure monitoring systems, and creating an encouraging environment for the private sector. But because that is not necessarily true of all countries, we must be flexible and tailor our advice to the specific circumstances of each country.

Q: The MTS outlines a "more focused" role for the Fund in low-income countries. Some have interpreted this as a signal that the institution is trying to scale down its involvement through streamlining and leaving some work that is not part of the core mandate to other institutions. Do you think this is a fair characterization? Where is the Fund going on low-income country issues?

A: We have achieved a lot in the past year, and the MTS is a big step forward. But perhaps we haven't explained enough what the MTS envisages, and what the Fund has done in the last few years for low-income countries. In fact, we have received a clear mandate, from both the Board and the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), to do more—not less—to help low-income countries achieve the MDGs. Rather than scaling down, we have actually expanded our work in low-income countries. The MTS does call on staff to work more closely with other partners in areas that are not clearly in our domain, but it does not permit us to do less. It is a direction to us to be more focused and results-oriented in our areas of expertise.

In the last year we have added to our toolkit new instruments—the Policy Support Instrument and the Exogenous Shocks Facility—to address issues our low-income members are facing. We have also expanded our efforts in capacity-building; for instance, we are opening a third Africa Regional Technical Center (AFRITAC) in Libreville, Gabon. The IMF was also the first institution to deliver debt relief under the MDRI (and note that most of that debt relief went to sub-Saharan Africa).

Q: Last year, the outcome of the G-8 summit at Gleneagles prompted a great deal of attention to debt relief, which resulted in the MDRI. This year the headlines seem to have died down somewhat. What do you hope will come out of the Annual Meetings in Singapore with regard to low-income country issues?

A: I don't know exactly what will come out of the Annual Meetings, but I know what we'll be working on in the run-up to Singapore. Our continuous agenda is to help countries accelerate growth, reach the HIPC decision and completion points, and qualify for the MDRI. We have delivered on our share of the MDRI. We will continue working on implementing the MTS. The G-8 and other OECD countries have pledged resources; now it is time to see how much will be delivered.

So we are moving on some fronts, including the scaling-up exercise (see related story in the Civil Society Newsletter February 2006 on the macroeconomics of managing increased aid flows to developing countries), but we need to make better progress on others, such as doing more to help countries meet the MDGs. There are perhaps fewer headlines on Africa because last year was about commitment, and this year is about implementation of those commitments. But I do not think there is less attention. Indeed, in late June, Prime Minister Blair unveiled a new proposal for a committee to monitor the commitments of the G-8.

Q: The issue of quotas is at the top of the agenda. What are you hearing about this from African Governors?

A: The Managing Director met with African Governors in Madrid at the end of June to discuss this issue. Quotas have moved to the top of the Fund agenda since the last meeting of the IMFC, which gave the MD a mandate to take to Singapore a proposal to rebalance the quotas. As the Ministers stated, this has been a long-standing issue for Africa, which for the past 20 years has expressed concerns about its voice and representation in the institution, including at the Board and on the staff. The African ministers made it quite clear that they would not like to finish this exercise with even lower quotas and voice than currently.

Q: A criticism of the Fund in Africa is the issue of fiscal space and whether the Fund constrains spending on critical sectors like health and education. How do you respond to that?

A: It is clearly not the case that we restrict spending in health, education, and other critical sectors. We have to say that as loudly and clearly—and as often—as possible. We live in the real world where there are always constraints, but within those constraints, we have always discussed with the authorities how to protect spending in vulnerable sectors. Indeed, in most of our programs, we have managed to provide space for increased spending in those sectors.

It is simply not true that we prevent countries from accepting grant resources from foreign donors for spending in such areas as HIV/AIDS for fear that this will lead to Dutch disease. It is important to manage the impact of those resources—and that is what we help countries do—but we do not prevent them from taking them in the first place. The claim that we constrain fiscal space in critical sectors is not a fair criticism of our work.

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The use of resources freed up by MDRI relief

In January, the IMF delivered on its part of the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) (see Civil Society Newsletter February 2006). We report below on how this money is used in each country:

Benin: The resources freed up by the MDRI will be used to step up priority poverty-reducing programs under the new Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) 2006-2009, which focuses on education, health, infrastructure, and agriculture. Although the timing and actual projects to be financed are being specified, it is expected that some spending will begin immediately. In particular, the equivalent of the savings on debt service that would have been due in 2006 (US$7.7 million) will be used to increase spending in health and education, in the cotton sector, as well as for funding small-holder projects in agriculture. The total relief from the Fund alone amounts to $56 million, equivalent to 1.3 percent of 2005 GDP.

Burkina Faso: The cancellation of the outstanding debt stock owed to the Fund will free up approximately US$83 million, equivalent to about 1.4 percent of GDP. The resulting debt service savings in 2006 are estimated at US$10.6 million, or 0.2% of GDP. The Fund program with Burkina Faso allows for additional spending on priority social programs or priority infrastructure if the country receives unexpected balance-of-payments support, including MDRI relief, up to an amount of US$45 million. MDRI debt relief is expected to supplement priority social programs, including education, health, and rural infrastructure. The additional expenditures will be included in the revised budget, and will be subject to the established reporting, audit, and oversight requirements.

Cameroon: The IMF delivered debt relief totaling US$255 million (1.4 percent of GDP) to Cameroon in April 2006. The IMF program with Cameroon allows the use of MDRI resources on programs that are consistent with the priorities underlying the poverty-reduction strategy, including in infrastructure, health, education, agriculture, and institution building. Spending from MDRI resources will be subject to established reporting and oversight requirements.

Ethiopia: Ethiopia's total MDRI relief from the IMF amounts to US$114 million. The Ethiopian authorities have included Birr 648 million (US$74 million, equivalent to 0.5 percent of GDP) freed up by the MDRI debt relief as revenues in the 2006/07 budget. Budgeted poverty-reducing spending, as defined by the government's poverty reduction strategy, is projected to increase by Birr 603 million (US$69 million). Ethiopia does not currently have an IMF-supported program.

Ghana: The Ghanaian authorities have received US$381 million freed under MDRI, which will go toward meeting the resource requirements for the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The relief has made Ghana's external debt much more sustainable. The government intends to use the resources to enhance the realization of its development objectives—primarily through increasing the current level of public investment in basic infrastructure and providing for key poverty sectors. These include improvement in energy and water; the rehabilitation of essential major highways and feeder roads in the main agricultural areas; education; health; and development of information and communication technology. The government will be using the equivalent of US$200 million from the IMF relief in 2006—with the remainder in 2007 and 2008—within its updated Growth Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS II). The relief from the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA) and the African Development Fund (AfDF) will be used for social spending (with an emphasis on education and health).

Madagascar: The Malagasy authorities have committed to allocate resources freed up by debt relief to priority spending ministries in line with the country's Poverty Reduction Strategy. The total amount of debt relief to be provided under the MDRI by the IMF, the IDA, and the AfDF will amount to approximately US$2.3 billion (42 percent of GDP), with the ratio of the net present value of debt to exports expected to decline to about 9 percent from about 31 percent in 2005. The IMF debt relief amounts to US$186 million, the IDA debt relief to US$1.78 billion, and the AfDF debt relief to US$327 million. Together, the MDRI relief will free about US$36 million for additional priority spending in 2006, and about US$70 million each year during the next twenty years. This additional poverty reducing expenditure will be included in a supplementary budget in 2006 and in the annual budget laws in subsequent years.

Mali: The Malian authorities have received debt relief totaling $108 million from the IMF. Total relief, including the expected contributions from the IDA and AfDF, is projected to amount to US$2 billion, equivalent to 35 percent of 2006 GDP. The relief will reduce Mali's external debt to levels well below sustainable debt thresholds over the medium term. The government intends to use the resources released to accelerate progress towards achieving the MDGs—primarily through raising public investment in basic infrastructure and providing for higher spending in health and education. For 2006, the authorities envisage an amendment to the budget for additional spending of US$24 million targeted at water supply and road improvements.

Mozambique: As a result of the MDRI, Mozambique's external public debt stock will fall significantly by end-2006, by US$1.6 billion in nominal terms (of which US$154 million will come from the IMF), and from 25 to 12 percent of GDP in NPV terms. The Mozambican authorities have decided to place the IMF MDRI funds in a special account at the Bank of Mozambique to be used by the government to finance "priority" pro-poor spending. It is envisaged that Mozambique will make use of the special MDRI account over a period of about 4 years, with all outlays subject to regular budgetary rules and procedures ensuring full transparency and accountability. The fiscal framework for 2006 includes additional pro-poor "priority" expenditure identified in the budget financed by MDRI resources from the Fund. The authorities' Medium-Term Fiscal Framework (MTFF) for 2007-09 has also been revised to phase in additional "priority" spending based on the profile of MDRI debt service relief from the Fund, AfDF, and IDA (estimated at around 0.5 percent of GDP per annum until 2015) in agreement with all stakeholders. A strengthening of public expenditure management systems should ensure a more effective use and monitoring of the MDRI resources.

Niger: Niger has decided to set aside the resources freed by MDRI from the Fund (US$86 million) for priority development programs. Accordingly, in 2006, the US$ 4.5 million will be used to expand priority programs in education, health, and rural sector development. Beyond 2006, the authorities are preparing Medium-Term Expenditure Frameworks (MTEFs) for these development programs. The MTEFs are expected to be completed by late 2006 and will be incorporated into Niger's budgets for 2007 and beyond.

Rwanda: MDRI relief (of which the Fund's relief amounts to about 3.3 percent of GDP or US$78 million) is being gradually incorporated into the Fund program. Food imports and spending for the Lake Kivu methane gas project (to generate electricity) broadly correspond to the resources freed-up by the MDRI relief in 2006 (0.6 percent of GDP). Depending on absorptive constraints and the domestic demand impact of fiscal policies, further priority spending could be accommodated in the context of the first Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) review. Over the next three years, annual MDRI flow relief amounts to about 0.5 percent of GDP.

Senegal: The Senegalese authorities intend to use the additional resources freed by MDRI from the Fund (US$140 million, or 1.7 percent of GDP) for priority needs in the social services sector. These needs have been identified in the new Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper for 2006-10, which was recently validated by the authorities. A supplementary budget will be presented to Parliament soon to authorize additional allocations for specific projects in these sectors during 2006. MDRI savings from the Fund debt relief will amount to US$38 million in 2006 (0.5 percent of GDP).

Tanzania: The Tanzanian authorities have decided to pass on the resources (about US$338 million) freed up by MDRI relief from the Fund to finance the foreign exchange needs of high priority pro-poor social outlays and growth-critical projects, thus avoiding any impact on domestic liquidity. These outlays will focus primarily on addressing the aftermath of a prolonged drought and on critical energy needs. Funds will be used to help pay for food imports to provide free or heavily subsidized food to some 3.7 million food-insecure citizens. It will also be used for the purchase or lease of new power generation capacity, thus alleviating power rationing, which has affected mostly households and small businesses, and has shifted the government's energy policy focus away from rural electrification towards crisis management. All outlays will be subject to regular procurement and financial management laws and regulations.

Uganda: Uganda has received debt relief from the IMF in the amount of US$126 million. New MDRI-related spending will be governed by poverty objectives (as outlined in Uganda's Poverty Eradication Action Plan) and macroeconomic stability. In this light, and given Uganda's acute electricity shortage, the government is considering using the resources to help meet Uganda's urgent electricity needs.

Zambia: The resources freed up by the MDRI will be used to step up priority poverty reducing programs under the National Development Plan (NDP) 2006-2010. Given the NDP's focus on agriculture and infrastructure, the MDRI savings are likely to be allocated to these areas, but for the most part the timing and actual projects to be financed have yet to be specified. That said, some spending will begin immediately: in 2006 the equivalent of the savings on debt service that would have been due (US$18 million) will be used to increase spending on agricultural projects devoted to small-holder irrigation and livestock disease control. The total relief from the Fund alone amounts to US$581 million, equivalent to 8 percent of 2005 GDP.

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Letters from the Field:

PRSP process starts to take hold in Moldova
Johan Mathisen, IMF Resident Representative, Chisinau, Moldova

In March 2006, the Moldovan authorities reported on the implementation of the first Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (EGPRSP) at a national forum. The forum was seen as an opportunity to involve all stakeholders in the ongoing dialogue and to discuss not only its success stories, but also the shortcomings and problem areas. The EGPRSP for 2004-2006 had been approved by the Parliament in December 2004, and was developed through an open participatory process in an attempt to create and extend a permanent dialogue involving public institutions, civil society, and other development partners.

Shortly after the forum, the Academy of Science of Moldova followed up with a roundtable on accelerating high-quality economic growth. It was attended by senior officials, researchers, and representatives of think tanks and civil society organizations (CSOs). The roundtable generated a list of proposed actions to strengthen cooperation between the authorities, academia, and CSOs—such as holding regular meetings on specific issues, organizing briefings by international organizations such as the IMF and the World Bank, and developing efficient mechanisms for interaction between researchers and the authorities. The goal is to optimize the policy dialogue during the implementation of key strategies such as the EGPRSP and the Moldova-EU Action Plan.

I was actively involved in these events and volunteered to contribute to the developing policy dialogue. Hence, an IMF mission headed by Thomas Richardson took part in a July 2006 roundtable at the Institute of Economy, Finance, and Statistics. The roundtable, attended by prominent scholars and the staff of the Institute, focused on the new IMF-supported program for Moldova and resulted in a lively discussion of practical and theoretical issues. Participants expressed the hope that such meetings will take place every time IMF missions come to Moldova. They agreed to continue the exchanges on narrower topics among academia, local think tanks, CSOs, journalists, and the donor community. This would be part of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP) consultative process aimed at improving the ability of the Government and civil society to respond adequately to the challenges of an open market and global competitiveness.

Background: After a 4-year interim, on May 5, 2006, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund approved a three-year Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) program in support of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) of the Government of Moldova. The loan totals approximately US$117 million on concessional terms (at an interest rate of 0.5 percent, and with a maturity of 10 years, after 5½ years of grace) and is to disbursed in seven equal tranches over 2006-2009. The first tranche of about US$17 million was disbursed to the National Bank of Moldova immediately after the PRGF approval. A second tranche is expected to be disbursed later this year as the Government continues to implement reforms committed in the EGPRSP and supported by the PRGF.

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Ugo Fasano, IMF Resident Representative, Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Haiti has been confronting several difficult challenges in recent years: political and economic instability, low economic growth, extremes of income inequality, and widespread poverty. So the election of President René Préval and a new Parliament this year, followed by the formation of a coalition government, present a historic opportunity to reverse the country's long period of civil conflict and economic decline. President Préval is confident that a wider social consensus now exists for overdue economic reforms, including promoting better governance and consolidating macroeconomic stability.

The new government has asked to start discussions on a three-year Fund-supported program under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) that could lead to a sharp decline in Haiti's external debt. It is expected that under this program, Haiti will benefit from a substantial reduction in its external debt initially under the enhanced Heavily-Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC) and in the coming years under the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). In this context, Western Hemisphere Department Director Anoop Singh visited Haiti in June 2006 to start these discussions. In addition to meeting with government officials, he also met with a wide range of civil society representatives to discuss the challenges facing Haiti. During the discussion, participants stressed that political and economic decentralization is key to reducing poverty in Haiti. There are presently virtually no functioning sub-national institutions.

The Fund Haiti mission and I have intensified our outreach activities to inform the public about the Fund and its activities and clarify various aspects of a PRGF program. Most recently, we gave interviews to journalists of local and international newspapers and presentations to local NGOs—such as "Civil Society Initiative," a broad group of civil society organizations, including trade unions—donors, and university students.

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Bulletin Board

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Other recent meetings between the IMF and CSOs

  • On May 10, John Shields of the IMF African Department (AFR) and Carlos Leite of the Policy Development and Review Department (PDR) met with Paul Miller and Soren Jensen of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to discuss revenue transparency issues in Angola's extractive industry. Jensen gave an overview of CRS's support for Angola's Economic Justice Program, which promotes fiscal transparency by strengthening the capacity of the Catholic Church and other CSOs. Shields noted that most of the critical transparency problems have been resolved, but that the transparency of the state-owned oil company remains problematic.
  • Simonetta Nardin of the External Relations Department (EXR) participated in the panel discussion "Human Rights, Development and Social Responsibility" at the Academy of Human Rights at American University's College of Law in Washington, D.C., on May 31. Panelists included Philip Alston of New York University, Andy Kooper of the Ashoka Foundation, and moderator Daniel Bradlow of American University. The discussion focused on social and corporate responsibility of institutions in fostering human rights.
  • On June 5, John Christensen, Raymond Baker, Bill Fant, and David Spencer of the Tax Justice Network (TJN) met with Michael Keen and Isaias Coelho of the Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD) to discuss the problem of capital flight in developing countries. TJN suggested that IMF Reports on Standards and Codes (ROSCs) should consider whether onshore and offshore financial centers are taking adequate action to stop capital flight.
  • Mike Davis of Global Witness (GW) met with David Coe and Matt Davies of the Asia and Pacific Department (APD) and FAD's Jon Strand and Dawn Rehm on June 20 to discuss corruption in the Cambodian extractive sectors. Davis emphasized GW's view of the need for further action against corruption in the logging and oil sectors. Rehm welcomed GW's efforts and suggested that the groups also urge other donors to further the transparency campaign as part of the effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Cambodia.
  • On July 11, international representatives from RESULTS Educational Fund met with Andy Berg of PDR and Peter Heller and Marijn Verhoeven of FAD, to discuss how aid flows can best be absorbed while allowing for flexibility in the health and education spending. RESULTS recognized that the priorities of macroeconomic stability cannot be ignored, but the delegation suggested that Fund policy advice should be more flexible for countries with high aid inflows. In response, staff noted that Fund advice is different across countries and encouraged CSOs to consult with the Fund on policy advice in given countries to assess if that advice has restricted spending flexibility for public services.
  • At a July 13 meeting in London, IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato discussed the IMF's Medium-Term Strategy with representatives from academia, civil society, the financial sector, and the press. CSOs were represented by ActionAid International, the Bretton Woods Project, Oxfam Great Britain, and World Vision.
  • On July 21, members of the Publish What You Pay Coalition (PWYP) met with PDR's Scott Brown and Anton Op de Beke and FAD's Philip Daniel and Dawn Rehm, to discuss the Fund's Guide on Resource Transparency. PWYP welcomed the Guide as a vital tool to illustrate the need for greater transparency in extractive industries. Welcoming the feedback, Op de Beke stressed that the Guide should not be substituted for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), but be used as a complementary tool to garner political support for fiscal governance and revenue resource transparency.
  • Oxfam Great Britain's Hetty Kovach met with AFR's George Anayiotos and Marshall Mills on July 26, to discuss the IMF's program conditionality in Mali and the scheduled privatization of the state-owned cotton company. Kovach was most concerned the privatization would reduce public services provided by the cotton industry such as training, farming credits, and health services. IMF staff recognized her concerns and noted that these issues will be explored in an upcoming World Bank Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA).
  • On July 28, members of the New Rules Network for Global Finance Coalition met with EXR Director Masood Ahmed. The discussion served was an opportunity for New Rules to brief EXR on their current initiatives in the areas of PSIA, parliamentary oversight, and IMF Executive Board accountability. Ahmed also provided an update on the proposals for the reform of IMF governance under the Managing Director's Medium-Term Strategy.
  • AFR's Roger Nord participated in a panel discussion on "Humanitarian Issues: Globalization" at the annual Global Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C. on July 28. Other panelists included Sameer Dossani of 50 Years is Enough, Charles Woolery of the United Nations Association-Council of Organizations and moderator Michael Doyle of the McClatchy Newspaper. Many questions from the participants revolved around trade. Nord shared the concern expressed by many about the recent suspension of discussions under the Doha Round, noting that for low-income countries, in particular, economic growth and poverty reduction requires more trade integration, not less.
  • On August 9, EXR Director Masood Ahmed met with London-based CSOs at the offices of Save the Children UK in London to discuss the Fund's role in low-income countries and other issues. Participants included representatives from the Bretton Woods Project, Christian Aid, Jubilee Research, Oxfam GB, Save the Children UK, and WaterAid.

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Upcoming meetings

  • The Annual Meetings of the Governors of the IMF and the World Bank will be held in Singapore on September 19-20, 2006, with a number of other official meetings taking place in the preceding days. CSO accreditation closed on August 4. Accredited CSOs will be able to use a designated area at the meeting site. They will have access to the press as well as Bank/IMF and government officials attending the meetings. Accredited CSOs will also have access to events such as the Civil Society Forum, Program of Seminars sessions, and some official Annual Meetings sessions. The Civil Society Forum will take place on September 14-20 and bring together Bank and Fund staff, CSO representatives, government officials, and others to discuss important issues. All information for CSOs is posted on the Annual Meetings website and on Please check this website regularly for updated information.

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Invitation to comment

  • On March 29, 2006, the IMF and the World Bank announced the creation of a six-member External Review Committee (ERC) to examine the areas of Bank-Fund collaboration and to propose improvements. The committee has decided to invite views from the public and has asked the World Bank and the IMF to establish an electronic mailbox for the public to offer comments until September 15, 2006 at The Committee would especially welcome perspectives on possible improvements on the division of labor and collaboration between the IMF and the World Bank.

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Inside the IMF

  • In May, IMF Managing Director de Rato proposed the appointment of John Lipsky as First Deputy Managing Director to succeed Anne O. Krueger, who announced in April that she would retire on August 31. Lipsky, a U.S. national, was Vice Chairman of JP Morgan Investment Bank; he previously served as chief economist at JP Morgan, Chase Manhattan Bank, and Salomon Brothers European Research Group. He also worked at the IMF for ten years on a number of countries and served as a Resident Representative in Chile. Lipsky holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in economics from Stanford University and a Bachelors degree in economics from Wesleyan University.
  • IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato named Jaime Caruana as the head of the recently merged International Capital Markets Department (ICM) and Monetary and Financial Systems Department (MFD). Caruana, a Spanish national, was Governor of Banco de España, Spain's central bank. He succeeds Gerd Häusler, who headed ICM, and Stefan Ingves, who headed MFD until his appointment as Governor of Sweden's central bank. Caruana, has also served on the Governing Council of the European Central Bank, was the Chairman of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, and, in that capacity, a member of the Financial Stability Forum. He previously served as Director of the Spanish Treasury and headed investment services and fund management companies.
  • On July 26, the Managing Director announced his intention to appoint Jonathan Palmer as the new Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the IMF and Associate Director of the Technology and General Services Department (TGS). Palmer is CIO and Deputy Statistician at the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The new CIO position was created after the management structure of TGS was reorganized. Palmer is expected to assume the position in late September and has 15 years of experience managing major information technology initiatives.

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Selected speeches

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Selected publications

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