The global economy is in better shape, but the road to a robust and comprehensive recovery remains bumpy, says IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde in an introduction to the institution’s Annual Report, published today. The report highlights the IMF’s work between May 1, 2012, and April 30, 2013—financial year 2013 for the institution—with an emphasis on the core areas of IMF responsibility: providing IMF member countries with financing for demonstrated needs, assessing their economic and financial policies, and developing their technical capacities.
"Decisive actions by policymakers during the year successfully defused the most immediate risks to the global economy," observes Lagarde, in her foreword to the International Monetary Fund’s Annual Report 2013: Promoting a More Secure and Stable Global Economy. But global growth remains too weak and too uneven, while in far too many countries, "improvements in financial markets have not translated into improvements in the real economy—and in the lives of people." She also points to a "need for concerted action" for which the IMF shares responsibility with its 188 member countries.
IMF financing continued to be an important source of support for member countries during the year, as the effects of the global financial crisis persisted and some countries in the euro area remained vulnerable. A substantial part of the financing—90 percent—went to three euro area countries (Greece, Ireland, and Portugal) hit particularly hard by the crisis. The IMF’s Executive Board approved 14 new or augmented arrangements during the year, for a total of USD113.9 billion; nine of these arrangements were on a concessional basis to low-income members under the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust. The institution also took steps to ensure the adequacy of its resources for providing such financing, including approval of a strategy to ensure sustainability of the Trust over the longer term.
During the year, the report notes, the IMF took steps to reform its core responsibility of surveillance—its oversight of member countries’ economic and financial policies—according to priorities identified in a triennial review conducted in 2011. Most notable was a decision on bilateral and multilateral surveillance adopted in July 2012, to better integrate IMF monitoring of the global economy with its oversight of country economies. It also adopted a strategy for financial surveillance to improve risk identification, strengthen instruments for integrated policy responses to risks, and improve impact by boosting its engagement with stakeholders.
In the area of capacity building, a new Institute for Capacity Development was formed by the integration of two existing IMF units during the year. Also, the institution finalized an agreement with the government of Mauritius to establish a regional training center there. Preparations also began for the opening of a new regional technical assistance center in West Africa. As in recent years, the majority of the IMF’s technical assistance continued to be provided to its low- and middle-income members; its training programs, supported by external donors and training partners, continued to enjoy a healthy level of demand among middle-income members in particular.
The IMF’s 2013 Annual Report is available in print in eight languages, on CD-ROM (in English only), and on the Internet at www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/ar/2013/. The Annual Report web page includes the IMF’s financial statements for FY2013 and other background documentation. Copies of the Annual Report, the financial statements, and the CD-ROM are available free of charge from IMF Publication Services, P.O. Box 92780, Washington, DC 20090 (e-mail: email@example.com).
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