Saturday, September 16, 2006

Even Before Start, IMF & WB Talks Controversial

Singapore braces to play host to IMF and the World Bank
International Herald Tribune
September 15, 2006

The 2006 Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank has already run into major controversy. The host country, Singapore, denied visas to approximately 27 advocates for fear of violent protests that are sometimes seen at such events. While Singapore has since reversed its stand after receiving a sharp rebuke from World Bank President, Paul Wolfowitz, many fear that the move came too late. Many advocates already cancelled their travel plans and would be unable to travel at a moment's notice. The meeting was ostensibly held in Singapore to demonstrate as a "reminder that there is a path out of poverty there is a path out of poverty, there is a path from poverty to prosperity , there is a path from poverty to prosperity. "

As far as the meeting itself, the Board of Governors have several controversial issues to resolve. One of the principal issues that will be discussed is altering the governance structure of the IMF to give emerging countries such as China more of a voice. However, this move is likely to be met with considerable resistance from the European countries and countries such as India that fear getting marginalized. The US is also concerned about the huge amount of dollar reserves being held by Asian countries such as China and South Korea and will try and pressure China to appreciate its currency, a move supported by Rodrigo de Rato, Managing Director of the IMF. Another issue that might be discussed is how to resuscitate the Doha trade talks.


1. How can the governance structure of the World Bank be altered to give developing countries a greater say without marginalizing the developed world?
2. Are the large dollar reserves held by Asian countries a good thing or a bad thing for the US?

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