Economists, Experts Seek Major Reforms at IMF

    The International Monetary Fund's board room. Western European countries should give up some of their seats in the IMF executive board to accommodate emerging and poor countries, according to a group of development experts and economists. Photo by: International Monetary Fund / CC BY-NC-ND International Monetary FundCC BY-NC-ND

    A group of development experts and economists are urging Western European countries to give up some of their seats in the executive board of the International Monetary Fund in order to better accommodate emerging economies and poor countries.

    In an open letter to IMF’s board of governors, the group explained that reducing Europe’s voting power will allow for greater representation of China, India and sub-Saharan African countries, among others, in the fund’s governing body. The group is also seeking the abolition of the U.S.’s veto power over major policy decisions of the IMF, IPS reports.

    The group’s demand for greater representation for emerging and poor countries echoes the call made by the U.S., which, along with IMF management and several other countries, has intensified efforts to persuade Europe to give up some of its seats in the fund’s executive board. European countries hold nine of the executive board’s 24 seats.

    The leading development experts and economists who signed the open letter added that reforms are necessary to ensure greater transparency in IMF’s decision making procedures.

    “We also support some reforms that are not currently on the agenda of the IMF or of the G-20 [Group of 20] but we still believe are very important, like increasing the transparency of IMF decision-making, establishing a merit-based and open and transparent process for selecting the IMF’s leadership, and a reconsideration of the 85 percent super-majority that gives veto power to one country or bloc of countries,” Domenico Lombardi, one of the signatories, told IPS.

    Lombardi is an expert at the U.S.-based Brookings Institution and the Oxford Institute for Economic Policy. Other signatories include Nancy Birdsall of the Center for Global Development, Paola Subacchi of the U.K.-based Chatham House, Bessma Momani of the Center for International Governance Innovation and Pamela Gomez of Oxfam International.

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    • Ivy Mungcal

      As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.