IMF, World Bank & IFI Round-Up

Leaders of the IMF and the World Bank Group vowed Feb. 27 to enhance mutual cooperation between the two institutions. IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato and World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz said they welcomed a report by the External Review Committee on IMF-World Bank Collaboration. They also endorsed the positive message that close cooperation between the two institutions is key to delivering services more effectively and efficiently to their 185 member countries, as past and present efforts have proven. “The Committee’s findings and recommendations provide a solid foundation upon which, we, our Boards, and our shareholders can continue to build,” said the two leaders in a joint statement. “We will be guided by your report as we work with our membership to reach broad consensus on how to enhance further Bank-Fund collaboration.”

The United Nations called on the IMF, the World Bank and the African Development Bank to cancel about USD 1.5 billion of debt owed by Liberia, saying repayment would hold up efforts to consolidate democracy and promote development. “Now is the time for multilateral institutions to step up to the plate and commit to assisting one of the world’s poorest countries rid itself of the stranglehold of poverty,” Anwarul Chowdury, a top UN representative, said in a statement published late Friday. “Undoubtedly, Liberia deserves special consideration given her recent tumultuous history and current post-conflict reconstruction efforts,” Chowdury said.

Caribbean countries joined by outside donors and international and regional organizations established a USD 47 million insurance pool this week to soften the blow from earthquakes and hurricanes. Called the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF), the program grew out of member governments’ determination to rebuild quicker after catastrophic natural disasters. The World Bank helped the 18 contributing governments establish the facility. It said they would save about 40 percent in premium payments by pooling their risks and would have money available immediately should disaster strike. The facility will operate by allowing governments to buy catastrophe coverage similar to coverages for businesses to protect against interruption of operations by providing them with early cash payments after a major hurricane or earthquake.

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