The International Monetary Fund, IMF, is working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth.
The IMF's main tasks falls within three categories:
- surveillance of individual member countries' economies and the global economy
- provision of loans to member countries with economic imbalances resulting in balance-of-payments problems
- technical assistance
Surveillance of member countries' economies and the global economy
The purpose of IMF surveillance is to ensure stability of the international monetary system. The IMF monitors the individual member countries' financial and economic policies and keeps track of economic and financial developments on a national, regional, and global basis. As part of the surveillance of the members' economies the IMF carries out the article IV Consultations. Furthermore, to ensure financial stability the IMF carries out so-called Financial Sector Assessment Programs, FSAP, where a member country's financial sector is assessed and analysed. For countries with systemically important financial sectors, FSAP has become a mandatory part of surveillance and takes place every five years.
Lending to countries with economic imbalances
The IMF provides loans to countries that have trouble meeting their international payment obligations and cannot otherwise find sufficient financing on affordable terms. Loans from the IMF are granted within specified access limits and subject to a number of economic policy conditions which are set to ensure that the borrowing country can restore macroeconomic stability and rebuild international reserves, and at the same time, repay its loan on normal conditions. The IMF also provides concessional financing to low-income countries to help them develop their economies and reduce poverty.
Technical assistance consists mainly of assistance to low- and middle-income countries in effectively managing their economies. The IMF provides practical guidance and training on how to upgrade institutions, and design appropriate macroeconomic, financial, and structural policies.