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The Future Role Of The International Monetary Fund

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  • Aziz Ali MOHAMMED
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    This paper looks at the role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the evolving global financial system from the perspective of developing country interests. It finds that on certain issues, such as the scope and purposes of its lending operations, a consensus has been reached that IMF should continue to serve all its members, including the poorest, and that its resources should be available for supporting macro-relevant structural reforms as well as for dealing with financial crises. On a number of other issues, there remain differences between industrial and developing country views, including on the extension of IMF surveillance to cover the observance of international standards and codes. Largely unsettled are the modalities of the involvement of the private sector in crisis resolution, with special reference to the development of arrangements in the international sphere that would be analogous to domestic bankruptcy procedures, including the declaration of standstills and principles for orderly and equitable debt workouts. The liberalization of the capital account and the choice of exchange regimes are two interconnected areas in which international prescriptions conflict with developing country insistence on the preservation of national autonomy and in favour of intermediate regimes, as opposed to corner solutions. The scope and content of IMF conditionality raises the issue of how to reconcile it with the importance of assuring country ownership. Finally, the governance of IMF poses questions about the exercise of decision-making powers in the institution. Developing country positions are evolving in all these areas, especially on the subject of private-sector involvement in financial crisis prevention and resolution. However, there appears to be a general preference for a more rules-based framework, rather than one derived on a “case-by-case” basis. There are four areas of great interest to developing countries where the international debate has remained muted or has been largely absent in the recent literature: these relate to the surveillance over, and coordination of, the macroeconomic policies of the three principal international currency issuers; the relationship of international and regional arrangements; the distribution of voting power in both IMF and the international system generally, and the future evolution of the international reserve system.

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    Paper provided by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in its series G-24 Discussion Papers with number 11.

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    Date of creation: 2001
    Handle: RePEc:unc:g24pap:11
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    1. John Williamson, 2000. "Exchange Rate Regimes for Emerging Markets: Reviving the Intermediate Option," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number pa60, November.
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