‘New’ IMF faces rough road toward bigger role

ISTANBUL, October 7, 2009 (AFP) – The IMF gained new stature as global lender at annual meetings with the World Bank in Istanbul that ended Wednesday, but is on a rough road between a fragile economic recovery and dissension among members. The finance chiefs from the 186 member nations of the institutions agreed after two days of talks on a broad mandate to build a lasting recovery from the worst crisis since the Great Depression.

But they said the nascent global recovery was considerably weak and could stall as unemployment surges and serious strains remain in the financial system.

Divisions were evident over the International Monetary Fund’s ambition to become a “new IMF” — the global lender of last resort and watchdog of the Group of 20 largest economies’ plan to build sustainable growth.

“This annual meeting may be the starting point of a new IMF, and you may say later when you will be talking with your grandchildren that you were in Istanbul at this time,” IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said.

The IMF’s policy-steering committee asked the fund to address four key reform areas — the IMF’s mandate, its financing role, multilateral surveillance, and governance. This included a shift of at least 5.0 perce