Press Information

World Bank Group - International Monetary Fund
1997 Annual Meetings

Events related to the 52nd Joint Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank Group (Bank) and the International Monetary Fund (Fund) will be held in Hong Kong, China, September 17-25, 1997 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC).

Press Accreditation and Registration

The Bank and the Fund welcome journalists at their Meetings. To obtain accreditation, journalists should fill in a "Request for Press Accreditation" form and return it no later than September 5, 1997 to:

By mail: Press Registration
Communications Division
International Monetary Fund
Washington DC 20431
By facsimile: [1] (202) 623-4100
The telephone number for the Facsimile Center for operational questions is:
[1] (202) 623-6262

To be accredited, you must hold current press credentials, details of which must be specified on the accreditation form. Acceptable press credentials include those issued by national and local authorities, or by a professional association of journalists. If such credentials are not held, an assignment letter from your Editor, along with a copy of the publication, should be sent with the accreditation form.

Requests for accreditation are accepted unless the applicant cannot show he or she is a journalist; unless you hear otherwise, you can assume your accreditation has been accepted. If you have questions about your accreditation, please contact info@imf.org.

Journalists who have applied for accreditation can register for the Meetings from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily, starting Monday, September 15 at the press registration desk in the HKCEC. Registration will close at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 25. You must come in person to register and present press credentials bearing a photograph or a national passport to establish your identity. When you register, you will receive a press badge giving you access to the Press Room, press conferences, briefings, and some official events.

Press Room and Communications Arrangements

The Press Room for the Meetings will be in the new extension to the HKCEC, and will open at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, September 15. It will have around 530 work spaces available on a first-come, first-served basis. Each desk will be equipped with power outlets and data jacks, as well as a telephone from which local calls can be made free of charge. For long-distance calls, journalists can buy a phone card in a fixed amount from Hong Kong Telecom, which will have a sales point in the HKCEC. Any unused amount on the card will be refunded at the end of the Meetings. Alternatively, collect calls can be made. A Facsimile Center operated by Hong Kong Telecom will also be available in the Press Room. These charges can be settled by cash, phone card, or a major credit card. Cellular telephones will also be available for rent from the Hong Kong Telecom sales point in the HKCEC. The Press Room will close at noon on Friday, September 26.

Hotel Accommodation and Local Transportation

If hotel accommodation is required, this can be arranged through the Bank/Fund Joint Secretariat. Hotel reservations cannot be made, however, unless the application for press accreditation has been received and your arrival and departure dates are clearly indicated. The hotel space available to the Joint Secretariat is limited, and because of the high cost of hotel rooms in Hong Kong, very selective. Therefore, you may wish to make your own hotel arrangements. However, if you would prefer us to make the arrangements for you, you are urged to submit your request as soon as possible, but not later than July 1, 1997, and please indicate on the accreditation form the price range you would prefer. Where possible, correspondents will be offered accommodation in the price range of their choice, although specific accommodation cannot be guaranteed. Requests received after July 1 will be assigned according to availability only.

All reservations will be made, as in the past, on a guaranteed arrival basis and only for the dates requested. Reservation changes resulting in a reduction of room nights and/or rooms not occupied or not canceled by July 29, 1997, will be subject to a penalty amounting to a three-night room charge, which will be passed on to you after the Meetings. You should also note that it may not be possible to change reservations, i.e. arrive earlier or depart later, after you have received your hotel reservation confirmation. Hong Kong hotels are fully booked year-round, and there is likely to be little flexibility to make adjustments at a later stage. Reservations confirmed by the Joint Secretariat Hotel Accommodation Office will be subject to a three consecutive night minimum stay during the period September 20-23, 1997, and failure to comply with this will be subject to the three-night room charge penalty.

The Joint Secretariat is unable to process requests for accommodation at hotels not listed below. If you are interested in alternative accommodation, you should contact the hotel directly or make reservations through your Travel Agent. Due to the high room occupancy in Hong Kong, hotels may not be able to accommodate guests before the established check-in time of 1:00 p.m. The normal check-out time is 12:00 noon, and the hotel may levy a charge if you occupy your room after this time, so you should inquire about the hotel's policy when you check in.

If you have outstanding no-show charges from previous Annual Meetings, these must be cleared before requesting accommodation for Hong Kong as the Joint Secretariat will not assist with new reservations until all outstanding payments have been received.

Hotel Rates
(In US$ including 10% service charge and 5% tax)

BP International House (Kowloon)
Single $179-209
Double $194-223

Single $311-366
Double $327-397

Single $231-245
Double $245-259

Conrad International
Single $476-518
Double $507-549

Single or Double $355-408

Grand Hyatt
Single $406-518
Double $445-557

Hong Kong Hotel
Single $392-609
Double $413-630

Island Shangri-La
Single $498-599
Double $544-645

J. W. Marriott
Single or Double $482-621

Kowloon Hotel
Single or Double $296-343

Kowloon Shangri-La
Single $378-490
Double $413-525

Mandarin Oriental
Single or Double $504-658

New World Harbour View
Single $378-476
Double $422-535

Single or Double $434-602

Single or Double $389-575

Ritz Carlton
Single or Double $539-623

South Pacific
Single or Double $237-288

Single or Double $245-269

All the hotels listed above will have the Annual Meetings' shuttle bus service to and from the HKCEC. Most hotels located in Kowloon are within a 5 to 10 minute walk of the Star Ferry Terminal where ferries can be taken directly to the HKCEC, in addition to the regularly scheduled shuttle buses.

Laptop Computers

Correspondents intending to use their laptop computers in the Press Room or their hotel room should note that electric current will only be available at 220 volts, 50 cycles, and that electrical outlets will only accept three-prong British-style plugs.

Correspondents from North America should also determine whether their laptop has a modem to adapt to the modulation specifications and differences between the Bell standard used in the United States and Canada and the CCITT standard used by the rest of the world. Any laptop that has a built-in modem should be able to transmit data from Hong Kong to North America. You should be aware, however, it is likely that static, noise, and other types of interference may be experienced with satellite transmissions when sending data; problems that are similar to the difficulties sometimes experienced when making trans-oceanic telephone calls.

Radio and Television

A television studio and an editing room with PAL-Betacam and NTSC-Betacam editing machines will be available on a first-come, first-served basis in the Press Room. Also, there will be six sound-proofed radio booths, with telephones, in the Press Room for the use of radio correspondents.

Radio-Television Hong Kong (RTHK), which will provide the live feed from the Plenary Hall during the Annual Meetings, will also install an audio-video mult box in the Press Room for use by visiting broadcasters.

Producers and cameramen should be aware that movement in the Plenary Hall during the Opening Ceremonies on September 23 will be very limited, and cameras will be restricted to the risers at the rear of the Hall. These restrictions will also apply to still cameramen.

Travel, Health, and Weather

A passport, valid for at least 6 months from the date of travel, is required for entry into Hong Kong.

Journalists should contact one of the following agencies to determine whether or not they require a visa for entry into Hong Kong:

Chief Immigration Officer
Visitors Section
The Hong Kong Immigration Department
Immigration Tower
7 Gloucester Road
Wanchai, Hong Kong
Telephone: [852] 2829-3163
Facsimile: [852] 2511-3335


the nearest Chinese Embassy or Consulate

Visa applications must be accompanied by evidence of your press affiliation.

If you intend to visit the mainland of China before or after the Annual Meetings you may need to obtain a separate visa and should consult the nearest Chinese Embassy or Consulate for further information. If you need a visa to enter Hong Kong and wish to take side trips to the mainland of China, or other regions, which will require re-entry to Hong Kong, you should apply for double-entry, or multiple-entry, visas as appropriate.

Lack of a valid visa may cause airlines to deny boarding at the initial point of embarkation or subsequent re-boarding.

Hong Kong's Department of Health advises that vaccinations are not required to enter Hong Kong. However, correspondents are advised to consult their local health authorities as to what vaccinations may be required or recommended by them. If you wish to visit such countries as Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, and the mainland of China within six days from the date of departure from a yellow fever-infected area, you should have a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate in your possession.

The weather during the time of the Meetings should be sunny and clear. The average humidity is around 72%, and the temperature ranges from 18 degrees to 28 degrees Celsius. Although most buildings are air-conditioned, light, comfortable clothing is recommended.

Official and Press Events

The Annual Meetings offer a number of official and press events that are of interest to journalists. The most important are:

The Interim Committee, which meets on September 21, is known officially as the "Interim Committee of the Board of Governors on the International Monetary System," and was established in October 1974 to advise the Board of Governors of the IMF on supervising the management and adaptation of the international monetary system as well as dealing with disturbances that might threaten the system. The Committee, whose members are Governors of the IMF, Ministers, or others of comparable rank, reflects the composition of the IMF Executive Board: each member country that appoints, and each group of countries that elects, an Executive Director, appoints a member of the Committee, which currently has 24 members. The Chairman is Philippe Maystadt, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Belgium.

The Development Committee, which meets on September 22, is known officially as the "Joint Ministerial Committee of the Boards of Governors of the Bank and the Fund on the transfer of real resources to Developing Countries," and was also formed in October 1974. It consists of 24 members, generally Ministers of Finance, appointed in turn to successive periods of two years by one of the countries or groups of countries that designates a member of the Bank's or the Fund's Executive Board. The Committee advises and reports to the Board of Governors of the Bank and the Fund on all aspects of the broad question of the transfer of real resources to developing countries, and makes suggestions for their implementation. The Chairman is Mohammed Kabbaj, Minister of Finance and Foreign Investment of Morocco.

The Group of 24 Ministers, was formed at the 1972 Lima meeting of the Group of 77 to represent the interests of the developing countries in negotiations on international monetary matters. The Group, which is officially known as the "Intergovernmental Group of 24 on International Monetary Affairs" is not an organ of the IMF. However, the IMF provides secretariat services for the Group, whose meetings usually take place in conjunction with those of the Interim and Development Committees to enable developing members to discuss agenda items before the meetings of the two Committees. The Group of 24 comprises eight members each from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The members are: Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Iran, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela. China attends as an invitee. The Chairman of the Ministers and the Chairman of the Deputies will be from Venezuela.

The Group of 10 Ministers, was formed in 1962 in conjunction with the establishment of the General Arrangements to Borrow (GAB), under which the Governments of nine members, Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and the central banks of two others, Germany and Sweden make financial resources available to the IMF for lending to participants, and, under certain circumstances, finance borrowing by non-participants. The Chairman of the Ministers is Gerrit Zalm, Minister of Finance of the Netherlands, and the Chairman of the Deputies is Mario Draghi, Director-General of the Italian Treasury Ministry's General Directorate of the Treasury.

Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of the Group of Seven major industrial countries generally hold a meeting at the time of the Annual Meetings. The members are: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The press conferences of International Monetary Fund Managing Director Michel Camdessus and World Bank Group President James D. Wolfensohn on September 18 and 19, respectively, provide an opportunity for journalists to enquire about issues of current interest on the world economy and the work of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund.

The World Economic Outlook (WEO) press conference, given by IMF Economic Counsellor and Director of Research Michael Mussa on September 17 at 9:00 a.m, is devoted to the latest developments in the global economy. Published twice a year, the WEO contains projections and analysis that are an integral part of the IMF's surveillance of economic developments and policies in its member countries and of the global economic system. Copies of the WEO will be available to the press on September 16; these, together with the contents of the press conference will be under a wire transmission embargo until 11:00 a.m. (0300GMT) Wednesday, September 17.

The China 2020 press conference, given on Thursday, September 18 at 11:00 a.m., will provide a comprehensive analysis of all sectors of China's economy and prospects to the year 2020, as well as information on the World Bank's portfolio with China.

The World Bank will hold its Annual Report press briefing on Friday, September 19 at 4:00 p.m. The report summarizes the Bank's activities in the 1997 fiscal year which ended on June 30, 1997.

The 1997 Annual Meetings Program of Seminars will take place between September 20 and 23. It is designed to create a forum for international business and financial leaders and high-ranking government officials to discuss market developments and investment opportunities. This year, we will also introduce a series of public policy sessions designed for a broader audience including policy makers, academics, NGOs and others. While the program will be global in its coverage, it will have a special emphasis on Asia this year. The program will feature country, regional, and thematic seminars; workshops; keynote sessions; and information kiosks. All seminars will be on-the-record and open to the press registered for the Annual Meetings. Seats will be reserved for the press at each session and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Pool Photo Events:

There will be short photographic sessions at the start of the ministerial meetings (Group of 24, Group of 10, Interim and Development Committees) which will be pooled. Please contact the IMF Information Division, telephone (202) 623-7074, fax (202) 623-6772), e-mail info@IMF.org for details on the pool.

For further information, please contact:

International Monetary Fund Press Office

Telephone Fax E-mail
[1] (202) 623-7100 [1] (202) 623-6772 info@IMF.org

World Bank Press Office
Klas Bergman [1] (202) 473-3798 [1] (202) 522-2632 KBergman@worldbank.org
Merrell Tuck-Primdahl [1] (202) 473-9516 [1] (202) 522-2632 MTuckprimdahl@worldbank.org
David Theis [1] (202) 473-1955 [1] (202) 522-2616 DTheis@worldbank.org

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