IMF seeks new lease on life in middle age

Chandi Dharmaratne

WASHINGTON, Sept 10, 2006 (AFP) – Six decades after it was created to inject stability into the ruins of the post-war financial system, the IMF is today trying to forge a new role that better represents a globalised economy. The International Monetary Fund is expected to adopt an interim voting reform to give a greater say to four countries at its September 19-20 annual meetings, held with its sister institution, the World Bank.

The share of IMF votes given to China, South Korea, Turkey and Mexico has fallen far behind the four countries’ economic influence. Without a greater say for such emerging players, the IMF argues that it risks becoming irrelevant.

But beyond the annual meetings in Singapore, IMF chief Rodrigo Rato wants deeper reforms by 2008 to remodel a World War II-era institution that remains dominated by the United States, Japan and Europe.

Rato said Friday that his strategy “is motivated by the central insight that the world is changing fast, and that the Fund needs to adapt to help our members deal with the challenges of 21st century globalisation”.

“If the Fund is to remain relevant to its members, both its work and its governance structure must be adapted to these new realities,” he said in a