The IMF thanks the organizations and individuals who provided comments for the online consultation on the IMF on Governance issues.The online consultation ended on September 16, 2016. If you have any questions, please send an e-mail to

Consultation on the IMF Guidelines on Governance Issues

July 2016

Responding to a renewed global attention on the issue of corruption and to a request from the International Monetary and Financial Committee (a ministerial-level advisory committee of the Board of Governors) at the Spring meetings in April 2016, the IMF is currently conducting a stocktaking exercise of how governance/corruption issues are being handled in its work with member countries through surveillance, financing, and technical assistance. The stocktaking will address whether current practice is in line with the 1997 Guidance Note (GN) on governance issues and will assess the work of the IMF in this area. If a determination is made that a modification to the GN is warranted, further papers will be prepared at a later stage.

The online consultation process will be open until September 16, 2016. We would welcome input by e-mail to

Questions for Consultation

The IMF is seeking your views on its involvement in governance/corruption issues. The results of this consultation/survey will serve as valuable input in assessing our role in this area. It will also help in the design of future strategies.

While we welcome feedback on any aspect of the IMF’s work on governance/corruption issues, we are specifically interested in receiving feedback on the following:

  1. In your view, has the IMF’s engagement with member countries matched its aspirations as set out in the 1997 GN? Can you cite examples of productive engagement? Where might our engagement have been more effective? Are there cases where the IMF should have engaged but did not?

  2. To make our engagement more effective, what should the IMF do differently? Increase coverage in our regular surveillance/Article IV consultations with member countries? Establish more governance-related conditionality for IMF financing? Increase technical assistance and training on anti-corruption, transparency, and other economic issues? Conduct and publish more transparency evaluations? Are there any other areas where the IMF’s engagement can be strengthened?

  3. In your view, is the IMF appropriately engaged in the different aspects of governance and corruption? Are there activities, countries, or regions where we should be more engaged? In the latter context, has our engagement been “evenhanded” across different countries?

  4. In making assessments and giving guidance, the IMF’s time horizon has been short- to medium-term (2-5 years). Is this an appropriate time horizon over which to assess governance/corruption issues?

  5. Do you view the use of comparative measurements/indices (e.g., World Bank’s Control of Corruption Indicator, Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, International Corruption Risk Group’s Corruption Risk Index) to be useful in assessing governance/corruption? Why or why not? Which indices are most informative for the country, region, or topic on which your organization focuses?

  6. In your view, has the IMF appropriately collaborated with other multilateral organizations and/or donors on governance/corruption issues in your country/region/topic?

  7. Has the IMF communicated effectively with civil society organizations (CSOs) and been responsive to your views on governance/corruption issues? In what ways could we strengthen the effectiveness of our communications?

  8. Do you have any other views or concerns on the IMF’s work on governance/corruption issues that are not specified above?

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Next steps

Interested stakeholders are encouraged to email their responses to the questions above and/or any other comments to

Please include the following information when responding via email so that the comments can be registered. Senders may request for their responses and comments to be private.

  • Name of the sender;
  • Organization you represent (if any);
  • Country (headquarters);
  • Phone number;
  • E-mail address.

A summary of the responses will be posted on our website by the IMF’s Communications Department (COM).

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Renewed Focus on Governance and Corruption

More recently, the issue of corruption has received renewed global attention. There are concerns about corruption leading to misuse of aid flows and, in the worst cases, global spillovers from failed states. Others are concerned about the leakage of fiscal revenues and investable funds from developing countries to advanced economies. Further, the recent Panama Papers underscore how opaque corporate vehicles can be used to hide the profits of illicit behavior, including tax evasion, corruption and sanctions evasion. The IMF has responded to members' interest through high-level IMF seminars on private sector and public sector corruption in the 2014 and 2015 IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings and through publication of the Staff Discussion Note “Corruption: Costs and Mitigating Strategies”. The IMF’s Managing Director also recently participated in the May 2016 London Anti-Corruption Summit and contributed to a compilation of essays from global leaders, journalists and academics. During the 2016 Spring Meetings, the international community called on the IMF to review its role in governance issues.

Why Does Governance/Corruption Matter for the IMF?

Governance is a broad concept covering all aspects of the way a country is governed including its economic policies and regulatory framework, as well as adherence to the rule of law. However, the IMF’s involvement is limited to the economic aspects of governance. Good governance is key to good economics. From the perspective of the IMF, countries with good governance have strong legal and regulatory frameworks in place, are able to use their human and financial resources more efficiently, attract more foreign and domestic investments and grow more rapidly. These countries are also better able to channel public resources to the poor and to provide citizens with voice and protection to make progress sustainable. The IMF has long taken the position that good governance in the public sector—including the avoidance of corruption—has a positive impact on economic efficiency, macroeconomic stability, and sustainable growth in its member countries.

Corruption—for this survey defined as the abuse of public office for private gain—is closely linked to governance: a poor governance environment offers greater incentives and more opportunities for corruption, which undermine the public’s trust in government. Aside from the direct cost of bribery, the indirect economic costs of corruption may be substantial and debilitating because the public’s distrust in government weakens the state’s capacity to raise revenue and provide public goods and services, leading to low growth and greater income inequality.

For more on the IMF staff views on corruption please see Corruption: Costs and Mitigating Strategies.

Role of the IMF in Good Governance

The importance of good governance has been long recognized by the IMF. In 1997, the IMF conducted a diagnostic assessment of its role in governance issues and adopted a policy on the IMF’s involvement, embodied in a Guidance Note (GN).

The 1997 GN highlighted the need for: (i) more comprehensive treatment of governance issues within the IMF’s expertise in the IMF’s surveillance and financing work with its member countries; (ii) more proactive advocacy of policies that eliminate corruption and fraudulent activities in public resource management and promote development of a conducive environment for private-sector activities; (iii) evenhanded treatment of governance issues in all member countries; and (iv) enhanced collaboration with other multilateral institutions, in particular the World Bank.

The IMF’s experience with governance issues was reviewed again in 2001 and 2004.

  • The 2001 review found that the 1997 GN remained generally appropriate as the guiding framework for the IMF’s approach in this area.
  • The 2004 review found that implementation of the 1997 GN was broadly satisfactory.

Subsequently, the IMF has developed new approaches and tools for engaging in governance and transparency issues. Following the events of September 11, 2001, the IMF has been actively engaged in the global anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) effort. Further, drawing on the lessons from the Mexican peso crisis and the Asian crisis, the IMF’s data standards initiatives were launched to promote data transparency, and Reports on Standards and Codes were introduced to promote fiscal and monetary policy transparency. At the same time, the IMF also specifically addressed governance issues with member countries where corruption was a persistent drag on macroeconomic performance and/or where grand corruption undermined member country’s relations with donors.

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