Bringing Balance to the IMF Reform Debate

Domenico Lombardi

Published: December 2008

This paper summarises the outcome of formal discussions among scholars, former policymakers and senior officials of International Monetary Fund (IMF) member countries that took place in 2007–08 regarding the future of the IMF and how its responsiveness to member countries might be improved. It relates member countries’ concerns about ownership and conditionality in IMF programmes; emphasizes the usefulness of IMF surveillance and considers its limitations; highlights opportunities for the IMF to better interact with regional financial organisations; and investigates how the IMF might address problems of representation and accountability. The concluding section summarises the policy recommendations arising from the consultations.

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The question of whether the IMF should effectively engage with its low-income member countries has recently generated a wide debate among development economists, policymakers, and advocates from nongovernmental organizations. This note elaborates on the important role that the IMF can play in its lowincome member countries, points to some current problems with the Fund's engagement with these countries, and suggests avenues for future improvement.

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