International Monetary Fund (IMF)
 
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International Monetary Fund (IMF)
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an organization of 188 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.

Created in 1945, the IMF is governed by and accountable to the 188 countries that make up its near-global membership.

The IMF, also known as the Fund, was conceived at a UN conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, United States, in July 1944. The 44 countries at that conference sought to build a framework for economic cooperation to avoid a repetition of the competitive devaluations that had contributed to the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The IMF's responsibilities: The IMF's primary purpose is to ensure the stability of the international monetary system—the system of exchange rates and international payments that enables countries (and their citizens) to transact with each other. The Fund's mandate was updated in 2012 to include all macroeconomic and financial sector issues that bear on global stability.

Fast Facts

  • Membership: 188 countries
  • Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
  • Executive Board: 24 Directors each representing a single country or a group of countries
  • Staff: Approximately 2,600 from 147 countries
  • Total quotas: US$327 billion (as of 3/13/15)
  • Additional pledged or committed resources: US$ 885 billion
  • Committed amounts under current lending arrangements (as of 3/13/15): US$163 billion, of which US$137 billion have not been drawn (see table).
  • Biggest borrowers (amounts outstanding as of 3/13/15): Portugal, Greece, Ireland, Ukraine
  • Biggest precautionary loans (amount agreed as of 3/13/15): Mexico, Poland, Colombia, Morocco
  • Surveillance consultations: 122 consultations in 2013 and 129 in 2014
  • Technical assistance: 274 person years in FY2013 and 285 in FY2014
  • Original aims:
    promote international monetary cooperation;
    facilitate the expansion and balanced growth of international trade;
    promote exchange stability;
    assist in the establishment of a multilateral system of payments; and
    make resources available (with adequate safeguards) to members experiencing balance of payments difficulties.

The IMF’s fundamental mission is to ensure the stability of the international monetary system. It does so in three ways: keeping track of the global economy and the economies of member countries; lending to countries with balance of payments difficulties; and giving practical help to members.

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