IMF to broaden impact of global recovery

Agence France Presse

Washington, April 25:

IMF policymakers met here and discussed steps to ensure that the fruits of a rapidly recovering world economy are broadly shared with the poorest countries in Africa and Latin America. Their twice-yearly meet coincides with what International Monetary Fund (IMF) economists see as robust momentum returning to US, Japan and China while Europe falters and efforts to combat poverty in Africa make little headway. Though the IMF maintains a commitment to human welfare, its policies have been denounced and challenged by critics as corporation-driven and hostile to the interests of the poor.

The meeting here yesterday sparked a protest in downtown Washington that observers estimated drew about 2,000 demonstrators. Detractors insisted that poor nations are buckling under crippling debts owed to the rich, including the IMF and the World Bank, whose policymakers gather here today during a year marking the 60th anniversary of the two institutions. But the IMF argues it has helped many countries climb out of poverty.

"If you take that period of time (60 years), the world economy as a whole has enjoyed an economic growth never before realised in world history," said Anne Krueger, the IMF acting managing director, ahead of the meetings this week end. The two organisations, she argued, have helped oversee a period of "liberalisation of trade, higher living standards, life expectancy, educational training, any measure you name — not just income." But the World Bank warned that while there have been impressive gains, notably a near halving in the proportion of people living in absolute poverty from 1981 to 2001, millions have been left out in Latin America.