Press Release: IMF Managing Director Notifies Executive Board of Plan for a Fact-Finding Mission to Iraq

May 30, 2003

Mr. Horst Köhler, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), informed the Executive Board today that he has decided to send a staff team for a fact-finding mission to Iraq. The precise timing of the mission has still to be worked out, and will depend on the necessary security and logistical arrangements being in place. In advance of that mission, a Fund staff member will join the delegation of Mr.Vieira de Mello, the UN Special Representative for Iraq, who is scheduled to travel this weekend to Baghdad to take up his new responsibilities under UN Security Council Resolution 1483.

The Managing Director also updated the Board on the status of the Fund's preparations to assist in the process of reconstruction and recovery in Iraq. An inter-departmental task force has been working to obtain information on the situation in Iraq and reflect on key issues, drawing on experience in the other post-conflict cases and the transition economies. The task force has met on a regular basis with World Bank staff, and has also been in contact with counterparts at the United Nations, other multilateral and regional organizations, the Paris Club, and bilateral donors.

Following the fact-finding mission, the initial focus of the IMF's work in Iraq will be technical assistance and advice in the IMF's areas of responsibility. Early priorities include: assisting in the restoration of core economic systems (e.g., basic budget planning and execution, central bank, and payments systems) with attention to the social safety net; advice on options for monetary policy; developing a macroeconomic policy framework consistent with stability and growth; preparing for diagnostic studies of the banking sector and other financial institutions; obtaining information on external debt; beginning work on macroeconomic data compilation and reporting arrangements; and identifying priority technical assistance needs, and the IMF's role in meeting them. This work will be carried out in close cooperation with other organizations and donors.


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