important but unloved

IMF-Africa: debt, SDRs, inequality… the Fund’s new clothes

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This article is part of the dossier:

IMF and Africa: Different this time?

By Joël Té-Léssia Assoko

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Posted on December 24, 2021 11:32

“IMF-Africa: is it different this time? (3/5) Faced with the Covid-19 crisis, the multilateral institution has provided noticeable support to African countries that were long critical of it. The question now arises as to its fiscal dogmatism and whether it is taking the climate issue into account.

Technically, no state is obliged to obey the IMF. Similarly, no individual is obliged to undergo chemotherapy… unless he or she really needs it. This is the fundamental dilemma of “this important but unloved institution”, in the words of economist Dani Rodrik, a famous critic of the organisation created in 1945 to “ensure the stability of the global financial system”.

Unlike the World Bank, the IMF is not a development aid or anti-poverty organisation. Its mission is to anticipate financial crises and intervene alongside states facing a rapid deterioration of their external financial and trade position, a deterioration of their foreign exchange reserves and increased monetary and banking instability.

“Under its Articles of Agreement, the IMF can provide its general resources only with adequate safeguards and only to help members resolve their balance of payments problems. Debt

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