Glossary:International Monetary Fund (IMF)

The International Monetary Fund, abbreviated as IMF, is an international organisation, at present counting 189 member countries, with the mission to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.

The IMF was conceived at the Bretton Woods conference in July 1944 (together with the World Bank), came into formal existence in December 1945 with 29 founding member countries and started operations on March 1, 1947. It is a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN), but has its own charter, governing structure, and finances. Its members are represented through a quota system broadly based on their relative size in the global economy.

The IMF promotes international monetary cooperation and exchange rate stability, facilitates the balanced growth of international trade, and provides resources to help members in balance of payments difficulties or to assist with poverty reduction. Through its economic surveillance, the IMF keeps track of the economic health of its member countries, alerting them to risks on the horizon and providing policy advice. It also lends to countries in difficulty, and provides technical assistance and training to help countries improve economic management.

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