IMF and WBG meetings ends with a call for better global support for resilient economies

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank Group (WBG) 2023 Annual Meetings in Marrakech

The International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank Group (WBG) 2023 Annual Meetings in Marrakech ended with a reverberating call for global cooperation and solidarity to build robust economies, especially, vulnerable and low and middle-income countries.

Officially, the meetings closed on Sunday, October 15, 2023, and the Marrakech Principle adopted, as debt restructuring, climate and changes to the global financial architecture became the highlight of discussions all week-long.

The Marrakech Principle serves as a blueprint for enhanced global cooperation and action on common challenges to build resilience and expand opportunities for a better future.

Although a new plan for increasing funding by IMF was not reached, a call was made by the Steering Committee Chair for a quota contribution to at least keep the current financial cover of US$185 billion in borrowings.

The World Bank governing body equally could not issue a joint communique on the meetings, but its Development Committee approved the Bank’s vision “to create a world free of poverty on a liveable planet.”

Meanwhile, Africa had the nod to have a third Chair on the IMF Executive Board to make their voice vocal, as the Fund’s increases its Board members from 24 to 25, though quotas remained same.

Ms Kristalina Goergieva, Managing Director, IMF, said: “We recognise that is the most vulnerable countries that are at highest risk in this very turbulent environment.”

That, she said had made demands for the Fund’s support for low-income countries and vulnerable middle-income countries hit a record high.

“To be able to provide meaningful support, we need to more resources for our Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT). It is time for solidarity, but solidarity when there’s so much tension is hard to build, yet, we’ve succeeded to do so,” Ms Goergieva said.

Mr Ajay Banga, World Bank President, said the institution would “export optimism and impact,” by working together with all forces, including multilateral banks, philanthropies, and to makes lives better around the world.

“We need the skills, and resources and the ingenuity of the private sector. There’s nothing that gives me more hope than our capacity to work together in common purpose,” Mr Banga said.

“Given the situation we’re living in, this statement provides guidance precisely along the lines of hope,” said, Mr Abdellatif Jouahri, Governor, Bank Al-Maghrib, Morocco.

“In order words, we’re trying to deal with a situation where we need to pull together, limit the extent of the fragmentation and the damage it causes,” he explained.

“We also need to get back on track in terms of climate resilience because people are now becoming aware that we’ve opened the gates of hell and we need to close those gates as soon as possible,” Mr Jouahri said.

He called for urgency in addressing poverty, strengthen fight against exclusion, integrate women and their role in the economy, particularly, in Africa, which would become a driver of future economic activities.

For Mr Sheku Bangura, Minister of Finance, Sierra Leone, the current global economic crisis and fragmentation, had become more important for global multilateral finance and development to deepen their support to countries.

“We need to ensure that institutions like the Bank and the Fund, when we’re recalibrating our programmes to take care of systems to deliver more services for poor people within our governments, they’re on our back,” he said.

Ghanaian authorities, led by Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, Finance Minister, in the company of Dr Ernest Addison, Governor, Bank of Ghana (BoG), used the occasion to strike various deals.

At the end of the meetings, Ghana gained assurances from China and France – Co-Chairs, Official Creditors Committee, expected to lead to the signing of a pact for debt restructuring in few weeks.

This is to pave way for IMF Executive Board approval for a second tranche of US$600 million [part of the Fund’s US$3bn loan] for Ghana’s Post-COVID-19 Programme of Economic Growth (PC-PEG) implementation.

“Action is needed from the creditors’ side; Ghana has done its fair share, and it’s for creditors to take the next steps, and we’re not going to ask the government to do more adjustment because creditors haven’t asked either,” Mr Abebe Aemro Selassie, Director, African Department, IMF, said earlier last week.

The World Bank’s International Finance Cooperation (IFC), also pledged financing support to Ghana’s implementation of various climate change schemes, to stimulate sustainable growth, a liveable planet, and create more jobs for people.

Characteristic of the IMF/WBG Annual Meetings, there were series of meetings and debates, capacity building, and release of various policy documents, including the World Economic Outlook.

This was the second time that the meetings, rotated every three years from Washington, was held on an African soil.

Prior to Morocco hosting this year’s IMF/WBG Annual Meetings, Kenya first held the meetings in Africa some 50 years ago in 1973.

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