Transcript of a Press Conference by International Monetary Fund Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato with John Lipsky, First Deputy Managing Director, and Masood Ahmed, Director, External Relations

October 18, 2007

With John Lipsky, First Deputy Managing Director, and Masood Ahmed, Director, External Relations
October 18, 2007
Washington, DC
View a Webcast of the press briefing

MR. AHMED: Good morning. I would like to welcome you again to this press briefing before the Annual Meetings which is on the record, this press briefing by the Managing Director of the IMF, Mr. Rodrigo de Rato, who is joined by the First Deputy Managing Director, Mr. John Lipsky. The Managing Director is going to make a few opening remarks, and then he and Mr. Lipsky will take questions. At the time when we get to questions, please do identify yourself and your affiliation. Mr. de Rato.

MR. DE RATO: Good morning and welcome to the Fund and to the beginning of this Annual Meetings 2007. Let me outline what will be, in my view and the view of my colleagues, the most important issues that we will be addressing on the meetings that start on Saturday with the IMFC. As you all know, we will have a new Chairman, so let me just take this occasion to congratulate Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa and at the same time to give a few words that I will repeat on more than one occasion of thanks to Gordon Brown for his very successful tenure at Chairman for almost a decade. We will start on Saturday with the IMFC. On Sunday, the Development Committee will have its opportunity to develop its agenda, and then on Monday we will have the plenary session.

As you all expect, my colleagues Jaime Caruana and Simon Johnson have explained to you, high on the agenda will be the global economy and the financial markets. Early this week both of my colleagues, Caruana and Johnson, the head of the Monetary and Capital Markets Department and the head of the Research Department, described some of the lessons that we are drawing from the recent market turbulence and our outlook for the global economy after this turbulence.

As Jaime noted, the turbulence in the markets has highlighted areas where policymakers and private financial institutions need to focus to help ensure financial stability and also to limit the wider repercussions of the necessary adjustments in some credit markets in the period ahead. We see that policymakers now have to revalue prudential frameworks so that investors are encouraged to maintain high credit standards and strengthen risk management systems in good times but also in not so good times.

Although the turmoil seen in July and August has subsided, its impact on the real economy will be felt for sometime, that is our view. It is clear that growth will decelerate but certainly not in a dramatic way. As Simon told you and told all of us yesterday, our forecast is that the world economy will grow a little more slowly than in 2006 and 2007 but nevertheless at a strong pace. However, at the same time, it is clear that downside risks of the world economy are bigger than they were only a few months ago, certainly more than in the Spring Meetings.

At the same time, other risks that were already present in our scenario have increased, too. These risks include the disorderly unwinding of global imbalances, a stronger push toward protectionism, higher oil prices, and emergence of national problems inside vulnerable emerging economies that have to finance large current account deficits with capital inflows. Perhaps more importantly, the market turbulence reveals the range and the risk of financial globalization. Those at risk are clearly not just loan originators in one country, in this case the U.S., but also banks in other places like Germany or the U.K., borrowers in Eastern Europe, and ultimately exporters all over the world in Asia and in Africa. So this shows clearly the need for multilateral cooperation in discussing not only the consequences but also the lessons from this credit crisis.

This institution, the Fund, with its near universal membership and with our focus on both macroeconomic and financial issues, has certainly the opportunity to have key contributions to make the international effort to draw and apply lessons from the recent turbulence. So I can confirm that financial market issues will be very high in our agenda not only in this Annual Meetings but in the years ahead.

This brings me also to other important issues that I will be addressing with our membership these next few days. For the Fund to remain effective in promoting sound and sustainable global economy, we also have to address issues of our own legitimacy and the quality of our advice. Reform in this case very often is not at a sprint but it is more like a marathon, and the milestones we have passed during the past year are very important, maybe not as dramatic as Singapore, but they are very important. They are important, and they give me and my colleagues the confidence that we will meet the goals of updating our governance structure by the Annual Meetings of next year here in Washington.

In this respect, there is an increasing convergence among members on important aspects of the new quota formula. A consensus is emerging that the outcome should be a shift in quotas toward emerging and developing countries as a whole, and there is also a growing support for an increase in basic votes that will go beyond the initial Singapore goal of more than doubling. At the same time, there is also growing consensus that GDP at PPP, purchasing power parity prices, will be used. I think that those are very important elements of the consensus that is emerging, but of course nothing will be decided until everything is agreed, so the agenda for the next year is a very important one, and we need the commitment of all members' countries to reach a good and final conclusion in 12 months time.

We reached in 2007 agreements on surveillance. The new decision, the 2007 decision, is the first major revision in the surveillance framework in the last 30 years and is the first ever comprehensive policy statement on surveillance. It reaffirms that surveillance should be focused on our core mandate, namely promoting external stability, and it reaffirms the centrality of exchange rate analysis, an area where we have been steadily stepping up our work. We also completed last year the multilateral consultation, and John can give you much more details on that. I think that was a very healthy process to clarify members' intentions on measures to reduce global imbalances, and certainly these type of consultations can be used for other issues. We have been focusing for sometime in improving the focus of our work on low-income countries. This includes improving our projections of aid flows, insisting on the need of greater coordination of donors, making clear that donors have to keep up their words, but at the same time working with recipient countries to use in an effective manner those new resources and having fiscal space for crucial expenditures on social issues like education and health. We have also stepped up our work on technical assistance, and I am very happy that we were able to open our third technical assistance center in Africa, in Gabon, and we are also working strongly with the World Bank in enhancing our capacity to help low-income countries together.

We have also made progress on designing and reaching consensus on a new income model of the Fund. I think we have already a clear consensus and acceptance of the membership that we need a new income model, and I think there is a growing consensus of how that income model should be, and of course we are drawing on the recommendations of the Crockett Report that you all know because it was presented here in February. At the same time, we have put forward a medium-term budget that is now working on the assumption of a 6 percent real reduction in the next three years, and discussions on the budget for 2009 until 2011 will start pretty soon in the Board, so that will be a good occasion to look into these issues.

These are, I believe, the most important issues for discussion at the meetings. As I said, we have a new Chairman of the IMFC, and I also will be very happy to present to the Governors a person they know very well, which is my successor, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and I want to thank you all for your collaboration during these past 3 1/2 years with me, and both John and myself will be more than happy to take your questions.

MR. AHMED: Okay, thank you very much. We will now take questions. Please identify yourselves. We will start with the gentleman there in the third row.

QUESTION: My question for Mr. De Rato. Now with most of the developing countries having paid most of their debt and also with the creation of new organisms such as the Banco del Sol and the Fund itself facing somewhat of financial difficulties, is the current role of the IMF to be rethought? In order for it to remain relevant, should the IMF rethink itself, seek a new role perhaps?

MR. DE RATO: Well, I do agree with part of your question, but not with the other. I do not think the IMF needs a new role, but the IMF needs to change to be able to do its role in a changing world. I think macroeconomic and financial stability were very important 63 years ago, but they are crucial today, and globalized markets make that even more important. The recent turmoil in credit markets show how important are global issues.

Global issues require sometimes global solutions, certainly discussion of solutions at the global level, and as we saw in the Multilateral Consultation on global imbalances, the Fund provides a unique setting. At the same time, countries, both developed and developing, are facing new opportunities but also new challenges. Right now in the world we are seeing the challenges on the developed countries and the opportunities on the emerging economies. It used to be the other way around, but things can change very quickly. I think it would be very unwise for those who now are seeing only the size of the opportunity to believe that the challenges will never come back, as it was also for the developed economies to think that they were never going to have any problems. Problems are there, and one has to face it. I think we can provide, and we do provide a partnership with governments in terms of financial and macroeconomic analysis and also surveillance that is unique and is very useful. At the same time we live in a changing world, and change is very demanding. It is not easy, and probably some of you have realized that we are the only multilateral institution with a program of change in governance. That probably shows how difficult it is, but we are moving ahead, and I am very encouraged for that. I think that the view of the Board that on governance issues we need to move toward a bigger voice of emerging economies as a whole shows clearly that there is a consensus in that direction as also we saw in Singapore that even for a financial institution like the Fund, the voice of low-income countries is becoming more and more important.

QUESTION: Does the Fund share the concerns on sovereign wealth funds that some of the G7 members are expressing and what do you think principally lies behind these concerns? Secondly, if I may, the Indian stock market fell by 9 percent yesterday. I wonder whether you draw any inferences from that as to the robustness of emerging markets.

Finally, very quickly —

MR. AHMED: Just two for a moment. We will try to get others. Thank you.

MR. DE RATO: Okay. On sovereign wealth funds, they are not new. They have been covered by our surveillance and technical assistance for sometime. Sso we have been covering sovereign wealth fund activities in some of our countries, including many oil-producing, and I think it is quite legitimate for countries with excess reserves to seek higher returns in investment other than, for example, U.S. treasuries. So in that respect, we see the sovereign wealth funds also playing an important role in distributing wealth across generations and smoothing fiscal revenues across years. Sovereign wealth funds are often real money investors with long-term horizons, and many play a stabilizing role in markets. Certainly in that respect also sovereign wealth funds are relevant not only for the international economy but very relevant for the domestic economy, so here transparency issues are key, to begin with at home. We believe that societies have the right to know what is happening with their sovereign wealth funds but also for the rest of the world, given the importance of these actors that are becoming more and more important in the international economy, and if you look at our recent GFSR, Global Financial Stability Report, you will see that in the issue we have an annex devoted to sovereign wealth funds. We are looking into them. We are also applying and asking them to apply existing initiatives by the Fund regarding good practices of fiscal transparency, guidance on resources revenue transparency, and guidelines for foreign exchange reserves management. So there are many issues and many areas in which we work on sovereign wealth funds. We believe that as many other actors in international financial markets, transparency is going to be a demand that will be increased.

The other issue was about India. Well, in the case of India, as you know, there has been some rumors about changes of legislation, so movements in the stock market can happen and then can correct themselves. So let me just make a medium-term reference to the country. The performance of India remains very strong, and it is certainly contributing to declining poverty and rising living standards. Monetary policy has been tightening over the past few months and has been useful in bringing inflation down, and that may be also affecting some of the—some signs of activity that we see as showing maybe in a slowdown but not at all a dramatic one. Of course there has been an appreciation of the currency that you are all aware of, and the government has taken different actions in that respect, but I think that on the proposals to enhance transparency on the capital inflows in India we are certainly sympathetic with those objectives and understand the concerns not only of India but of many other countries about transparency of capital inflows, but there is a risk that limited inflows could dampen confidence, investment, and growth. I think the government in India, like in many other places, has to have a balanced position to enhance transparency but at the same time allow as much investment as possible.

QUESTION: With regards to global warming or global climate change, I noticed you had an appendix in the World Economic Outlook this time. Given that your member countries have various views on this issue, to what extent do you think the IMF will focus on this issue and also what kind of role do you think the IMF has to address this important issue?

MR. DE RATO: Well, as you have pointed out, we have already looked into it in this WEO, and the next WEO in the spring will devote more analysis to it, so that shows clearly that the staff believes and management shares that view that global warming, among other things, has macroeconomic consequences, and I think that we should devote some resources to help our member countries face those consequences and also clarify what are the consequences in terms of growth and in terms of macroeconomic impacts. We see a role for us as long as it is a role in our focus as is a role that has to do with macroeconomic and financial stability. Others, the World Bank, for instance, is going to devote a substantial part of the discussions on Sunday on this issue. The World Bank has probably other aspects regarding climate change and other institutions, too. Global issues require global discussions, and they cannot be held in one single institution. That is why this institution is a focus institution but it is also a cooperative institution. We discuss issues with others regarding climate change or regarding poverty reduction or regarding financial issues like the BIS and the Financial Stability Forum, and we are very happy about that. I think that multilateralism requires focus but at the same also it requires a cooperative approach.

MR. LIPSKY: In addition, on the issue of climate change, as the Managing Director said, there may be direct macroeconomic impacts, but also when it turns to mitigation and policies for mitigation involves fiscal policy that may involve tax policies and other policies that will have a direct impact on budgetary decisions that would naturally have an importance in this kind of discussions that are natural to the IMF. As a result, our Fiscal Affairs Department is also thinking clearly or working on the analysis of the fiscal implications of mitigation of climate control.

QUESTION: Sir, in the WEO this year it says that for the first time China, India, and Russia contributed 50 percent to the overall growth in the world. Do you see this as a fluke or the beginning of a tendency? Thank you, sir.

MR. DE RATO: Well, it is clear that the role of emerging economies is increasing in the world, and it is a very welcome issue because it is making—first of all, it is giving those countries an opportunity to enhance the life and the quality of life of the citizens, but also at the same time it is making growth in the world more broad based, and as we see right now, well, we are having a slowdown in the United States, but world growth in our central scenario will not be that much affected. I think this is a very welcome change if you want to call it that way. At the same time, it has consequences. Those consequences in terms of relevance and responsibilities, too. I think that the fact that China, for instance, and Saudi Arabia were willing to participate in the Multilateral Consultation shows clearly that these countries are also accepting responsibilities, and those responsibilities are very broad, from the macroeconomic and financial policies also to the fiscal policies, and to the willingness to participate in and reach consensus on issues. Let me raise one, which is trade. I think that the responsibility of arriving to a positive outcome in the Doha negotiations is clear today not only in the hands of the traditional trade forces, the United States and Europe, but also in the hands of others like China, India, Brazil. So I think that this new role of emerging economies is a very welcome one for many reasons, and it also requires bigger profiles, bigger responsibilities, and I think that in most cases that I have seen, at least in the discussions here for the new governance of the institution, emerging economies understand very clearly what is their new responsibilities.

QUESTION: I have two questions. First, President Lula made a very critical statement yesterday saying that it would be more useful for developing countries to create a regional monetary fund because IMF does not represent their interests beyond the traditional critics from Argentina. What do you think about the opinion of Mr. Lula?

The second, on Monday you have said that Argentina's inflation is a dangerous element for the economy. The government responded that inflation is part of the high growth. What do you think about that? Thank you.

MR. DE RATO: Well, the first thing I want to tell you is that given this is almost my last press conference, not the last but almost the last, I will not change my rule. I do not answer on other people's statements. So I will not get into that. I think it is good advice for others, but it has certainly been good advice for me.

On Brazil in general and President Lula in particular, I have to say in my 3 1/2 years here, I had a very good relationship with him. I just visited him last August. We talked a lot about the reform of the IMF. He reminded me that in one of his first letters to my predecessor when he just became President of Brazil, he insisted on the need of this reform. I think Brazil is not only an important member of the IMF but is also a very active one on the reform, and I want to thank them for their views and their approach, for instance in the surveillance decision. I think the movement here on giving more voice to emerging economies as a whole clearly responds to, addresses those type of views and concerns.

On inflation, well, let me tell you what we see. We see on Argentina that the economy continues to expand rapidly and certainly unemployment and poverty falling below the pre-crisis levels, but price pressures are mounting and external surpluses declining. Recent market turbulence had an impact on Argentina well beyond the rest of the region, with some declines in liquidity and interbank and public debt markets and an increase in yields. The already procyclical fiscal stance has deteriorated rapidly in recent months, and market turbulence may have led to a tightening of credit conditions, but in our view monetary policy remains accommodative. Inflationary pressures are being tackled through increasing intervention in markets and institutions. We believe that the government in Argentina should bring to bear all macroeconomic policy tools at its disposal, that is fiscal, monetary, and exchange rate policies to allow for a soft landing with sustainable growth and low inflation. As you know very well, we will be holding our Article IV discussions with Argentina after the elections, and that will be a very good opportunity to exchange views with our colleagues from Argentina.

QUESTION: Mr. De Rato, you mentioned among the highest risks in front of us, if I am not mistaken, is the high oil prices. If you could elaborate on that, and also on the euro, continuous appreciation of the euro if it keeps being in the context of what the IMF evaluated a fairly appreciation. Thanks.

MR. DE RATO: Thank you very much. Oil prices have been on the rise almost since I came here. No, a little earlier. Since 2003. But so far we have seen a limited impact on global activity, but it is certainly a risk that is increasing. Why it has not such a big impact on activity? Well, because it is largely demand driven and also because energy intensity in many consuming countries has been reduced since the 1970s, for instance. However, we see a very tight market. Capacity in the oil market is very tight as demand growth continues to outstrip non-OPEC supply, and these tight market conditions have been the main factor driving recent oil price increases to the upper end of the historical traded range. But also renewed geopolitical concerns, as we are all aware of that, oil supply disruptions also push the prices to new heights. As we see and you have seen our predictions in the WEO, we are increasing our view, we are increasing the price we see in the future, but also that is seen in the futures market too. In our own average petroleum spot price, which is a combination of the different spot prices, we will average, we will see the price around $77 in our own average petroleum spot price for the remainder of this year and moving up to $79 per barrel in 2008, but with chances of those numbers to go up, no doubt. This is of course something that has implications on inflation, and we see some inflationary pressures in some countries, mainly emerging economies. But I think that oil and energy in general is a very important question. It requires also policy changes from the point of view of countries in terms of energy mix, and it requires for consumers to be aware of the price, and that in many countries means that subsidies should be changed for social direct expenditure. We have seen some good movements in that direction, for instance in Indonesia, but I think that that lesson has to be learned by other emerging economies. I think there was a question about the euro.

Okay, as you know, on the issue of currencies our view regarding the euro is that the euro stays right now in line with medium-term fundamentals on a multilateral basis. It is true that the euro is close to its historical high in real effective terms, but it is also true that the Euro Area current account is in broad balance.

QUESTION: [Translation from French.] One year ago in Bamako the First Managing Director told us that there would be an increase in aid for developing countries, but we are still waiting to see this increase in aid, and I would like to know how much longer the developing countries are going to have to wait for this dramatic increase in aid.

Then second question, Mr. Managing Director, you spoke about the legitimacy for greater efficiency and you have said that the IMF is undertaking initiatives in that direction. Are those initiatives going to mean that in the next few years we are going to have an MD who is not coming from Europe? Thank you.

MR. DE RATO: Thank you. If you do not mind, I will respond in English. First of all, we have been expressing our views that donor countries should keep their pledges on increasing aid, and we have taken every opportunity to do so. John, myself, and my colleagues, and I take this opportunity to do it again. I think the pledges made by donor countries should be kept because the aid is needed, and I think the doubling of aid is a needed element, and it was a commitment that was made, and we were witness of that commitment. So I have to say that I agree with that.

At the same time, we believe that aid should be harmonized. We see an increasing need for harmonization of donor conditions and conditionality that could become an impossible burden for some low-income countries. At the same time, we see new opportunities not only because of aid but because of investment and because of the price of commodities that are making sub-Saharan Africa move in a more dynamic way than in many years before. Economic growth, we expect it to be about 6 percent in 2007 and 7 percent in 2008, and inflation, if you take out Zimbabwe, should be about 7 percent in those two years. Those are very impressive numbers for sub-Saharan Africa, and we believe that they show that the countries are changing, they are implementing new and more effective economic policies. We are in very close partnership with many of them, with all of them, we know how difficult and how important these decisions are, but as we saw the examples of others, this is the way to reduce poverty in a sustainable way over years, but I totally agree with you that we need to hold donors responsible for their commitments.

On the governance issue, I have expressed my view that the double change that puts the view of the Board that emerging economies as a whole should increase their voice in the institution and at the same time low-income countries' voice should be first more than doubled and then ring fenced I think is a very important step. Again, I have to say that we are pioneers in this, and we are moving in a territory that requires a lot of consensus and a lot of willingness by the part of government, but we see progress being made. As for who the members have elected, in the last two months the institutions have gone through not one but two elections, one that was held on the basis of votes, the other that was held on the basis of one chair, one vote. The results are known, and of course they were very transparent. I have to congratulate the Board for facing up to its responsibilities in a transparent and constructive manner.

QUESTION: Sir, you referred to the two terms, the legitimacy and quality of our advice. The Executive Board had a meeting in July this year to take stock of these situations, and you said that you had some lessons for the future. Is this legitimacy and quality of your advice, the IMF advice a result of that stock taking in that Executive Board meeting? That is one.

The second is that some of the countries, Pakistan has withdrawn from the IMF. Why? And do you feel that there is some more countries who would be inclined to withdraw from the IMF?

MR. DE RATO: Pakistan has not withdrawn from the IMF. It does not have a program, which is not the same. The United States does not have a program, either, and it has not withdrawn from the IMF.

Financial programs by public institutions, multilateral public institutions, were a very big need of emerging economies for many years, 30 years, 40 years, and for some actual industrial countries, too. During my tenure here the United Kingdom paid its last dues on the program they had in the 1970s. So there has been a part of history of countries needing finance by the international community. That is the IMF. The IMF is not an independent state. It is the international community, it is 185 countries. The fact that emerging economies today can go to the markets and finance themselves is very good, and if there is anyplace in the world that knows the difficulty of financial crisis, it is certainly this institution. So we are very happy and very welcome, and we are very proud of many countries, Pakistan one of them, who is increasing their credibility to foreign investors and to financial markets. But that is not to say that those countries, first of all, do not want to be part and do not need to be part of the international community, and Pakistan is a very active member of the institution, it has its views. I have discussed them with the Pakistani government both in your country and here and I think Pakistan was clearly part of the consensus in Singapore of increasing the voice of emerging economies as a whole. I have to say that I am a true believer that more voice for emerging economies will help this institution to be more legitimate in the future.

Legitimacy is a key question for any public institution. If people do not find you legitimate, it is very difficult to exercise your responsibilities to provide certain public goods. For a multilateral institution it is also true. It is different than a national institution, we do not have elections, we do not have the same kind of constituency, but we need to enhance our legitimacy. We are doing so, and I think we are doing so with a consensus, with the overall consensus of all the participants, and we are not only talking about economies that are increasing their weight but we are also talking about low-income countries that need to ring fence their voice here. So I think in that respect we are moving forward.

Then about the credibility of our advice, of course we have to be careful about how credible we are and how we keep this institution also as a knowledge institution in which things are analyzed. John can tell you what are the efforts we are making, for instance, in financial market issues.

MR. LIPSKY: Yes, I was going to say, one of the aspects that has been most dynamic in the world economy over the past decade and especially in this decade is the growth in capital flows including long-term flows to emerging market countries, and the big change that has occurred just in the last few years in the increased willingness of investors, international investors to acquire local currency denominated assets of emerging market sovereigns and corporates. This is a big, potentially a big change in the opportunities available to these countries. It also increases the international interconnections through financial markets and through trade between developed and developing countries, and changes the demands for crisis prevention and crisis resolution as well as adequate management. That is why the Fund, for several years, has been working very assiduously in increasing its capabilities, understanding interactions with both the exporting and capital importing countries in regards to the development of markets and managing the implications of this growth in capital markets and placing it in an effective international context of crisis prevention and potentially crisis resolution. So this is an aspect that represents a very dynamic element of the international setting and an important one for the Fund and its members.

QUESTION: You talked about greater coordination of donors and then you said aid should be earnest. What do you think of China's way of doing things in Africa?

MR. DE RATO: Well, I think China like many other countries is showing a growing interest in Africa, and I think that is very welcome, and I think it is also showing that interest because of very clear reasons. They have interests in commodities and also in trade and investment. I think that is not only a normal aspiration of any country but also a welcome one because African countries need new investment.

At the same time, China, like any other donor, should be aware that for instance debt sustainability is a key question, especially for countries that have gone through a period of debt cancellation by the international community but also by countries who could not absorb and at the same time could not handle higher levels of debt. In that respect, transparency is a very important element again. I think that China, like many other investors in Africa, is entitled, of course, to do whatever they think is suitable but at the same time to collaborate with the international community to help low-income countries to absorb in an efficient manner new resources and to keep levels of debt that can be sustainable over time and can be sustainable when circumstances change and interest rates raise, for instance. So I think there is no difference of what China is doing than others are doing, and there is the need for China and others, not only China, many others, to collaborate with international institutions like the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and us to have a setting of debt sustainability that is key for the long-term poverty reduction of African countries.

MR. AHMED: Okay, I will take one last question now. I think that gentleman there has been waiting the longest.

QUESTION: Thank you. We all know that, Mr. De Rato, you have made efforts to promote the reform of the IMF. Until today the reform of the IMF looks very difficult and slow, so the voice of developing countries is still low and weak. And Mr. De Rato, what do you think is the most difficult factor of the IMF reform, and what is your suggestion? Thank you.

MR. DE RATO: Well, I do not agree that the reform is going slowly. The reform has a two-year calendar. By any standard, two years in reforming an international institution with 185 countries, nobody can say that is moving slowly. There is no other example in two years. So I think that as long as we are able to keep our calendar, we are doing things in the right direction and at the right pace. So I think that it is difficult, well, putting together 185 positions is not easy, but at the same time we have seen that in surveillance, we have seen it in Singapore, we have seen it in other issues. We have seen it also in quotas and what we have been able to do in the last 12 months, so I am optimistic. I think we have the capacity to do it and we have the willingness of the membership to do it. That, of course, does not mean that things have been completed. There is going to be a need for a lot of work and commitment by the part of the membership and the Board to do so, but I am convinced that, first of all, it is necessary and I am convinced that the institution is more than capable of doing it.

MR. AHMED: Thank you very much. I know many of you have questions, but we have another press conference after the IMFC.


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