Finance and economy

 

International Monetary Fund

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international organization headquartered in Washington, DC, of 188 countries working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world. Formed in 1944 at the Bretton Woods Conference, it came into formal existence in 1945 with 29 member countries and the goal of reconstructing the international payment system. Countries contribute funds to a pool through a quota system from which countries with payment imbalances can borrow. As of 2010, the fund had XDR476.8 billion, about US$755.7 billion at then-current exchange rates.

Through this fund, and other activities such as statistics keeping and analysis, surveillance of its members’ economies and the demand for self-correcting policies, the IMF works to improve the economies of its member countries. The organization’s objectives stated in the Articles of Agreement are: to promote international economic cooperation, international trade, employment, and exchange-rate stability, including by making financial resources available to member countries to meet balance-of-payments needs.

Source: Wikipedia

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World Bank Group

The World Bank Group (WBG) is a family of five international organizations that make leveraged loans to developing countries. It is the largest and most famous development bank in the world and is an observer at the United Nations Development Group. The bank is based in Washington, D.C. and provided around $30 billion in loans and assistance to “developing” and transition countries in 2012. The bank’s stated mission is to achieve the twin goals of ending extreme poverty and building shared prosperity. Its five organizations are the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

The World Bank’s (the IBRD and IDA’s) activities are focused on developing countries, in fields such as human development (e.g. education, health), agriculture and rural development (e.g. irrigation and rural services), environmental protection (e.g. pollution reduction, establishing and enforcing regulations), infrastructure (e.g. roads, urban regeneration, and electricity), large industrial construction projects, and governance (e.g. anti-corruption, legal institutions development). The IBRD and IDA provide loans at preferential rates to member countries, as well as grants to the poorest countries. Loans or grants for specific projects are often linked to wider policy changes in the sector or the country’s economy as a whole. For example, a loan to improve coastal environmental management may be linked to development of new environmental institutions at national and local levels and the implementation of new regulations to limit pollution, or not, such as in the World Bank financed constructions of paper mills along the Rio Uruguay in 2006.

Source: Wikipedia

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World Trade Organization

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization which regulates international trade. The WTO officially commenced on 1 January 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement, signed by 123 nations on 15 April 1994, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948. The WTO deals with regulation of trade between participating countries by providing a framework for negotiating trade agreements and a dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing participants’ adherence to WTO agreements, which are signed by representatives of member governments and ratified by their parliaments. Most of the issues that the WTO focuses on derive from previous trade negotiations, especially from the Uruguay Round (1986–1994).

The WTO is attempting to complete negotiations on the Doha Development Round, which was launched in 2001 with an explicit focus on developing countries. As of June 2012, the future of the Doha Round remained uncertain: the work programme lists 21 subjects in which the original deadline of 1 January 2005 was missed, and the round is still incomplete. The conflict between free trade on industrial goods and services but retention of protectionism on farm subsidies to domestic agricultural sector (requested by developed countries) and the substantiation of fair trade on agricultural products (requested by developing countries) remain the major obstacles. This impasse has made it impossible to launch new WTO negotiations beyond the Doha Development Round. As a result, there have been an increasing number of bilateral free trade agreements between governments. As of July 2012, there were various negotiation groups in the WTO system for the current agricultural trade negotiation which is in the condition of stalemate.

The WTO’s current Director-General is Roberto Azevêdo, who leads a staff of over 600 people in Geneva, Switzerland. A trade facilitation agreement known as the Bali Package was reached by all members on 7 December 2013, the first comprehensive agreement in the organization’s history.

Source: Wikipedia

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