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Panelists at the “Beyond Aid” event sponsored by the Belgian think tank Friends of Europe. The event was part of the Development Policy Forum. (IMF Staff Photo)

The IMF and Civil Society

Update from the 2009 European Development Days

November 9, 2009

IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn and IMF staff participated in the 2009 European Development Days in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Fourth European Development Days took place in Stockholm, Sweden during October 22-24, 2009 and attracted a record number of around 6,000 participants from all over the world.

The IMF’s Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn participated in the opening panel, together with President Ernest Bai Koroma from Sierra Leone, African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka, World Bank Managing Director Ms. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Muhammad Yunus, and George Soros.

Strauss-Kahn stressed that the IMF had changed and will continue to change, noting the streamlining of conditionality and increased flexibility in IMF-supported programs. “Flexibility also means recognizing the political and social realities on the ground, by protecting the most vulnerable,” he said. The Fund's financial assistance to low-income countries almost quadrupled from 2007 to 2009 to help those countries respond to the crisis and maintain important spending on infrastructure, social outlays, health, and education.

In an event sponsored by the Brussels-based think tank Friends of Europe titled “Beyond Aid”, Deputy Director in the IMF’s African Department Saul Lizondo discussed with participants from developments banks, the European Commission, CSOs, and officials from Africa how best to ensure aid effectiveness. The recent Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa found that while the region was better poised to recover faster than in the past from the recent external shocks—due to prudent macroeconomic policies and rapid Fund assistance—it was important to achieve higher donor support in helping low-income countries contain the adverse consequences of the global financial crisis.

Participants at the “Beyond Aid” event sponsored by Friends of Europe.