IMF Quotas

March 4, 2021

The IMF is a quota-based institution. Quotas are the building blocks of the IMF’s financial and governance structure. An individual member country’s quota broadly reflects its relative position in the world economy. Quotas are denominated in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), the IMF’s unit of account.

Multiple roles of quotas

Resource Contributions

Quotas determine the maximum amount of financial resources a member is obliged to provide to the IMF.

Voting Power

Quotas are a key determinant of the voting power in IMF decisions. Votes comprise one vote per SDR100,000 of quota plus basic votes (same for all members).

Access to Financing

Quotas determine the maximum amount of financing a member can obtain from the IMF under normal access.

SDR Allocations

Quotas determine a member’s share in a general allocation of SDRs.           


General Quota Reviews

SIZE OF OVERALL QUOTA INCREASE A general review allows the IMF to assess the adequacy of quotas in relation to both the members’ balance of payments financing needs and the Fund’s ability to help meet those needs.

The IMF's Board of Governors conducts general reviews of quotas at regular intervals (no more than five years apart). Any changes in quotas must be approved by an 85 percent majority of the total voting power, and a member’s own quota cannot be changed without its consent. the two main issues addressed in a general review of quotas are (i) the size of an overall quota increase and (ii) the distribution of the increase among the members.  

Distribution of the quota increase among members

A general review allows for realignments in members’ quota shares to reflect changes in their relative positions in the world economy. In addition, a member may request an ad hoc quota adjustment at any time outside of a general review.

Quota formula

A quota formula is used to help assess members’ relative position in the world economy and it can play a role in guiding the distribution of quota increases. The current formula was agreed in 2008.

(0.50 * GDP + 0.30 * Openness + 0.15 * Variability + 0.05 * Reserves)compression factor

16th General Review of Quotas

On February 7, 2020, the Board of Governors (BoG) adopted a Resolution concluding the 15th General Review of Quotas, with no increase in quotas and providing guidance for the 16th  Review. As part of the 16th Review, the BoG requested the Executive Board revisit the adequacy of quotas, and continue the process of IMF governance reform—including a new formula as a guide—and ensure the primary role of quotas in IMF resources. Any adjustment in quota shares would be expected to result in increases in the quota shares of dynamic economies in line with their relative positions in the world economy.  That is, it would likely result in an increase in the share of emerging market and developing countries as a whole, while protecting the voice and representation of the poorest members. Under the Resolution, the 16th Review should be completed no later than December 15, 2023.

2010 Quota reforms

The 14th General Review of Quotas was part of a package of far-reaching reforms of IMF quotas and governance. It was completed on December 15, 2010 and conditions for the effectiveness of quota increases were met on January 26, 2016.