Press Release: Iceland, IMF Announce International Conference on Lessons, Challenges of Economic Crisis

October 3, 2011

Press Release No.11/355
October 3, 2011

Iceland was one of the first countries to experience the full force of the global financial crisis in 2008. Three years later, with the country on the road to recovery, the Icelandic authorities and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will co-host a high-level conference in Reykjavik, on October 27, 2011, to review Iceland’s achievements and examine the challenges that still lie ahead.

“The Icelandic people have shown great determination and resilience in implementing complex policies under difficult circumstances,” said IMF Deputy Managing Director Nemat Shafik. “All the parties involved, including the IMF, have something to learn from this experience, and this is why I am delighted that we are co-sponsoring this event.” She noted, “With the global economy still dealing with the fallout of the 2008 financial crisis, I am confident that the impressive line-up of speakers gathering in Reykjavik will help us distill useful lessons for policymakers, economists, and the IMF.”

“The economic program with the IMF has been highly successful in stabilizing the Icelandic economy and putting it on a path of recovery,” said Central Bank Governor Már Guðmundsson. “There might be some interesting lessons for the international community,” he noted.

“We look forward to a frank discussion about the ‘Perfect Storm’ that engulfed Iceland in 2008, where we are today, and what others might learn from Iceland’s experience. I am happy to say that the dynamic cooperation with the IMF helped preserve the Nordic welfare model in my country," said Árni Páll Árnason, Minister of Economic Affairs.

Iceland’s Recovery: Lessons and Challenges will bring together high-level Icelandic and international policymakers, academics, and civil society representatives. Prominent speakers include Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman and renowned international economists Willem Buiter and Simon Johnson.

During three thematic sessions, participants will assess the policies implemented to address the crisis, such as the use of capital controls and the handling of the banking sector. Iceland’s focus on preserving its social welfare system while undertaking a strong fiscal adjustment will also be reviewed, together with the way in which these policies were integrated into the IMF-supported program, which ended in August.

Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir will open the conference, with introductory remarks by Minister Árnason. Finance Minister Steingrímur Sigfússon will also address the conference, while Ms. Shafik will join Governor Guðmundsson, Professors Krugman and Johnson, and Gylfi Zoega, one of Iceland’s leading economists, for the concluding panel discussion.

The program of the conference and other logistical information are available on the conference website.


Central Bank of Iceland

Stefán Jóhann Stefánsson


Ministry of Economic Affairs:

Kristrún Heimisdóttir



In Washington

Simonetta Nardin

+ 1 202 378 8705

In Reykjavik:

Ragnar Hjalmarsson


For more on Iceland and the IMF, please click here.


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