OPINIONISTA: Why the IMF and World Bank are sliding into irrelevance

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OPINIONISTA: Why the IMF and World Bank are sliding into irrelevance By Mohamed A El-Erian

). These are supplemented by press conferences and speeches involving many fund officials. The themes are then picked up in a host of seminars, as well as in presentations by national officials. As a result, many policy implications are covered well before the IMFC meets.

Even more worryingly, the fund’s policy recommendations – especially those pertaining to the advanced economies – have little impact . One need only look at the widening gulf between what IMF officials have said and the bland, repetitive language of the IMFC communiqués.

In addition, the cherished principle of uniformity of treatment of member countries has been visibly stretched, often in a way that has further dented the standing and credibility of institutions whose governance is still informed by the past. In particular, Europe has long been overrepresented relative to emerging economies, and Europe and the US retain a monopoly over the leadership of the IMF and World Bank, respectively.

Multilateral organisations often complain that major governments’ weak appetite for institutional reform limits the scope for improvement. After all, these countries are not only the largest shareholders, but also have sometimes blocked initiatives supported by the vast majority of other member states.


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