Unlike the General Assembly of the United Nations, where each country has one vote, decision making at the IMF was designed to reflect the position of each member country in the global economy. Each IMF member country is assigned a quota that determines its financial commitment to the IMF, as well as its voting power.
To be effective, the IMF must be seen as representing the interests of all of its 189 member countries, from its smallest shareholder Tuvalu, to its largest, the United States.
In November 2010, the IMF agreed on reform of its framework for making decisions to reflect the increasing importance of emerging market and developing economies.
Giving more say to emerging markets
In recent years, emerging market countries have experienced strong growth and now play a much larger role in the world economy.
The reforms will produce a shift of 6 percent of quota shares to dynamic emerging market and developing countries. This realignment will give more say to a group of countries known as the BRICS: Brazil, Russia, India, and China.
Protecting the voice of low-income countries
The reform package also contains measures to protect the voice of the poorest countries in the IMF. Without these measures, this group of countries would have seen its voting shares decline.
Timeline for implementing the reform
The Board of Governors, the IMF’s highest decision-making body, must ratify the new agreement by an 85 percent majority before it comes into effect.
The plan is for the reform to be implemented in 2012.