International Monetary Fund

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was formed in 1945 and currently has 189 member countries including Australia. These countries work towards fostering global cooperation on monetary issues, securing financial stability, facilitating trade across the world, promoting employment and strong economic growth and the reduction of global poverty.

Primarily, its purpose is stability in the international monetary system. That is, the system that facilitates transactions between countries – international payments and the exchange rates. However, in 2012 the IMF’s purpose was expanded to embrace macroeconomic issues and other policies that impact global stability.

The IMF carries out its mission through keeping if the economies of its member countries and the global economy as a whole; assisting countries with difficulties in their balance of payment by providing lending; and through helping member countries.

By overseeing the broader international monetary system as well as monitoring the policies of its individual members, the IMF identifies risks and provides advice to address these risks.

When the IMF identifies that a member country has existing or faces the risk of a problem with their balance of payments, it provides assistance through lending. Funds are provided to assist with rebuilding reserves, to stabilise currency, pay for imports, restoring economic growth conditions and to correct underlying problems. The IMF is able to lend $1 trillion to member countries and currently has 36 lending arrangements in place.

The IMF is a major organisation in international monetary activities and works closely with individual member governments to bring their institutions and economic policies up to current levels. This may include training.

The current Managing Director of the IMF is Kristalina Georgieva. The headquarters are in Washington DC in the United States with European offices in Paris France and, Brussels Belgium, Asia and The Pacific offices in Tokyo Japan and Eastern European offices in Poland Warsaw.