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IMF must abandon discredited policies

Topping the agenda when World Bank and International Monetary Fund meet in Washington this weekend will be global financial stability.

IMF briefing paper

IMF occasional paper

Against the backdrop of worldwide economic crisis, detailed discussions will take place about a massive fiscal stimulus package, and reform of the financial sector.

The World Bank will unveil a major initiative that will almost double financing for road, bridge and other infrastructure projects to help poorer nations create jobs.

The IMF is also expected to reveal details of how it will help vulnerable economies cope with the crisis. The fund received a US$500bn boost to its resources from the G20 in London earlier this month to help low and middle-income countries protect their economies.

Christian Aid is today calling on countries that contributed to that massive cash injection to monitor closely the fund’s performance, in particular the conditions it imposes when making loans available.

It says that for decades the IMF was a leading exponent of the Washington Consensus – a now discredited formula for economic success based on deregulation, privatisation, the liberalisation of trade and financial markets and lower corporate taxes.

A new report published by Christian Aid, One Size Fits All? IMF tax policy in sub-Saharan Africa reveals how the IMF foisted Washington Consensus policies on a number of African countries with scant regard for the specifics of their economies.

Based on naïve and inappropriate assumptions, the recommendations in many cases caused poverty to worsen.

Christian Aid says the IMF must urgently reappraise the policies it has hitherto promoted.

Tax policy advice and the technical assistance it gives to poor countries must be reviewed if such countries are to be able to access adequate financial resources in order to build stable economies and help the poorest in their societies.

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For more press information, pictures or case studies, please contact Andrew Hogg on 0207 523 2058 or 07872 350534.

Notes to Editors:

Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in some 49 countries We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the life they deserve.