Section Notes



About the IMF

The International Monetary Fund is the world’s central organization for international monetary cooperation. With 188 member countries, it is an organization in which almost all of the countries in the world work together to promote the common good. The IMF, which oversees the international monetary system to ensure its effective operation, has among its key purposes to promote exchange rate stability and to facilitate the expansion and balanced growth of international trade. This enables countries (and their citizens) to buy goods and services from one another and is essential for achieving sustainable economic growth and raising living standards.

All of the IMF’s member countries are represented on its Executive Board, which discusses the national, regional, and global consequences of each member’s economic policies and decides the IMF’s lending to help member countries address temporary balance-of-payments problems, as well as capacity building efforts. This Annual Report covers the activities of the Executive Board and IMF management and staff during the financial year May 1, 2014, through April 30, 2015. Some figures on lending to Greece were updated after the end of the financial year. The contents reflect the views and policy discussions of the IMF Executive Board, which has actively participated in preparation of this Annual Report.

The IMF’s main activities

The key roles of the IMF are to:

  • Provide advice to members on adopting policies that can help them achieve macroeconomic stability, thereby accelerating economic growth and alleviating poverty.
  • Make financing temporarily available to member countries to help them address balance-of-payments problems, that is, when they find themselves short of foreign exchange because their external payments exceed their foreign exchange earnings.
  • Offer technical assistance and training to countries, at their request, to help them build the expertise and institutions they need to implement sound economic policies.

The IMF is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and, reflecting its global reach and close ties with its members, also has offices around the world.

Additional information on the IMF and its member countries can be found on the IMF’s website,


FY2015 Key IMF Activities

The IMF established a new emergency relief fund and continued to provide financial assistance to members.

The Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT), established in response to the Ebola crisis, provides grants for debt relief to the poorest and most vulnerable countries hit by natural or public health disasters that have the potential to spread to other countries. The IMF provided $95 million in grants to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to relieve eligible debt burdens. The IMF also augmented the program under the Extended Credit Facility for Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia by $63.6 million, $111.7 million, and $48.2 million, respectively, and provided access to the Rapid Credit Facility to Guinea and Liberia in the amount of $39.8 million and $45.5 million, respectively.

Successor arrangements for Mexico and Poland under the Flexible Credit Line totaling $88 billion and for Morocco under the Precautionary Credit Line totaling $4.5 billion were approved. New arrangements were also approved for Georgia, Honduras, Kenya, Serbia, Seychelles, and Ukraine involving a resource commitment of $19.4 billion. New disbursements under the Rapid Credit Facility were approved for the Central African Republic, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Madagascar, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, for a total of $117 million (see all support to low-income developing countries in Table 2.4). An augmentation to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Stand-By Arrangement in the amount of $118.9 million was also approved.

A number of major policy reviews were completed.

Follow-up work to the 2014 Triennial Surveillance Review (TSR) is under way. The Managing Director’s action plan covers all core operational areas of surveillance, including risks and spillovers, and macro-financial and macrocritical structural issues.

A review of the Financial Sector Assessment Program found that reforms implemented in 2009 had strengthened the focus, effectiveness, and traction of the assessments. Reforms to the IMF’s Debt Limit Policy were adopted. The new policies, effective end-June 2015, provide countries with more flexibility to finance productive investments while containing risks to medium-term sustainability.

Reforms to the IMF’s Debt Limit Policy were adopted. The new policies, effective end-June 2015, provide countries with more flexibility to finance productive investments while containing risks to medium-term sustainability.

Following the Independent Evaluation Office’s (IEO’s) recommendation, a review of the IMF’s work on trade issues was completed. The assessment covered macrocritical trade issues underlying a work agenda for the IMF for the next five years.

Staff published guidance notes to strengthen the IMF’s advice on macroprudential policy in surveillance. The notes factor the work of international standard setters and evolving country experiences with macroprudential policy—that is, government policies designed to ensure the health and soundness of a financial system.

In response to the IEO’s suggestion and building on previous work, a new framework for determining the appropriate level of international reserves held by member countries has been developed that is more country-specific than previous methods of assessing reserve adequacy.

Analytical and policy work focused on challenges facing the membership.

Work on underlying macrocritical issues covered topics such as productivity enhancing reforms in advanced economies, female labor force participation, drivers of income inequality, economic diversification in the Gulf Cooperation Countries, and youth unemployment in European advanced economies. Analysis of monetary and financial sector policies focused on the role of exchange rate interventions, and implications of Islamic finance. Policy and analytic work on fiscal issues included revenue mobilization and tax compliance, and public investment efficiency in the Middle East and North Africa and Caucasus and Central Asia oil-exporting countries.

Intensive capacity development continued through technical assistance and training.

Capacity building—helping countries develop more effective institutions, legal frameworks, and policies to promote economic stability and inclusive growth—focused on low-income developing countries. The regional technical assistance office in Thailand also was pivotal in rapidly responding to demand for technical assistance and training in Myanmar and Lao P.D.R. Other highlights included the creation of the Somalia Trust Fund for Capacity Development and the official launch of the IMF–Middle East Center for Economics and Finance in Kuwait, the IMF’s first regional training institute in the Middle East. Two new massive open online courses on debt sustainability analysis and energy subsidy reform further extended the reach of IMF training.


IMF Policy Priorities in 2015

Priorities set out in the Managing Director’s Global Policy Agenda were:


  • Euro area

    Provide effective demand support
    Implement labor and product market reforms

  • United States

    Ensure smooth monetary normalization
    Establish medium-term fiscal consolidation plan

  • Japan

    Implement fiscal and structural reforms
    Enhance monetary policy transmission

  • China

    Manage demand rebalancing
    Address vulnerabilities in overinvested sectors

  • Emerging market economies

    Address external vulnerabilities
    Lift potential growth

  • Low-income developing countries

    Strengthen policy frameworks
    Rebuild fiscal and external buffers


  • Monetary policy

    Assess impact of policy divergence
    Analyze monetary policy and financial stability links

  • Financial sector policies

    Deepen macro-financial analysis
    Provide guidance on macroprudential policy

  • Fiscal policy

    Examine how policy can boost long-term growth
    Strengthen advice on frameworks and institutions

  • Structural reforms

    Bolster advice on structural reforms
    Advise on measures to improve investment efficiency

Activities summarized from the Managing Director’s Global Policy Agenda. See end Notes for details.


The Global Policy Agenda

The Managing Director’s Global Policy Agenda (GPA) is a document presented twice a year to the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), which is the IMF’s policy guiding body. The GPA identifies the policy challenges faced by the IMF membership, assesses progress since the previous GPA, outlines the policy responses needed at the global and country levels, and lays out how the IMF can support those policy responses.

The GPA is regarded as an important blueprint for the IMF and its membership. It is also a key element of the IMF’s multilateral surveillance work—as highlighted in the 2014 Triennial Surveillance Review (TSR) and the Managing Director’s Action Plan for Strengthening Surveillance, which was issued along with the TSR. The GPA is discussed by the members of the IMF Executive Board in an informal session.

The April 2015 GPA—Confront Global Challenges Together—states: "Promoting balanced, sustained growth requires an integrated policy package that bolsters today’s actual and tomorrow’s potential output, diminishes risks, and confronts emerging global challenges."

Among the report’s recommendations:

Lifting today’s growth: Boosting growth and jobs requires continued monetary accommodation and supportive fiscal policies, where appropriate. But improving policy effectiveness and securing financial stability is crucial. This includes tackling debt overhang and encouraging productive investment rather than excessive financial risk-taking. The approaching increase in U.S. interest rates and large currency movements call for proactive policies to manage risks and growing leverage. Stronger fiscal frameworks can make revenue and spending more growth-friendly and contain fiscal risks.

Fortifying tomorrow’s prospects: Structural reforms are lagging compared with other areas of the GPA. Targeted structural reforms can boost investment and productivity. While bottlenecks vary, priorities include advancing energy subsidy reforms to take advantage of lower oil prices, financial deepening, upgrading infrastructure, increasing employment, removing distortions in product markets, and improving the business environment. Trade reforms in traditional areas and emerging ones such as services and regulations can complement and augment other structural reforms.

Working together for the future: The impact of asynchronous monetary policies on currencies and capital flows underscores the need to make the international monetary system more resilient, promote the continuing integration of dynamic emerging economies, and ensure an adequate and cohesive global safety net. Anchored by three major international conferences, 2015 marks an unprecedented opportunity for the world to chart the course for sustainable development for the next decade and a half, and beyond (see Part 2).

What the IMF will do: The GPA states that the IMF will help members deliver on the policy agenda by providing flexible financing arrangements to members facing pressing challenges. It also committed the IMF to closely link policy advice and capacity development, highlight priorities such as implementing growth-friendly fiscal policies and macrocritical financial and structural reforms, and address debt overhang. The GPA also states that the IMF will take stock of challenges facing the international monetary system, embrace the 2015 global development agenda, and tailor its work to meet members’ evolving needs.