The IMF, or the International Monetary Fund, is an international financial institution with headquarters in Washington D.C. The organisation brings together 190 countries and aims to:
- Foster global monetary cooperation and promote financial and exchange-rate stability across the regions of the world;
- Contribute and improve the social and employment landscape and policymaking environment
- Promote global economic growth in a sustainable way and facilitate international trade;
- Ameliorate the global poverty landscape by promoting poverty relief and macroeconomic stability and by making resources and funding available and accessible to the developing world.
The IMF is instrumental when it comes to poverty and disaster relief and works in conjunction (on both operational and financial level) with the World Bank. The organisation’s funds come from two main sources: loans and quotas (which generate the highest revenue), or the pooled resources of IMF member countries. The quota system allows member countries to contribute to a funding pool from which countries, experiencing financial difficulties, have the possibility to borrow. The existence of the IMF can be traced back to July 1944 at the Bretton Woods Conference, driven forward by economists John Maynard Keynes and Harry Dexter White as a response to the need to improve access to financial markets and reconstruct the international monetary system.
The IMF conducts policy research into virtually all economic and political sectors, including technology, digital skills and social and labour policy. Since 2019, the organisation is headed by Bulgarian economist Kristalina Georgieva, previous Chief Executive of the World Bank and Vice-President of the European Commission under Jean-Claude Juncker (2014 – 2016).