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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 10 Dec 2002

Vol. 559 No. 1

Written Answers. - Official Engagements.

Dan Boyle


95 Mr. Boyle asked the Minister for Finance if he will report on the most recent meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. [25572/02]

The annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank were held in Washington in September. The main business of the meetings was conducted by two committees of the boards of governors – the development committee and the international monetary and financial committee.

At the annual meetings, Ministers welcomed the continued progress made on the HIPC initiative and reconfirmed commitment to its implementation and full financing. There was full support for the objective of helping the poorest, most heavily indebted members achieve an enduring exit from unsustainable debt while recognising that considerable challenges remain. Success will require a sustained commitment by HIPC countries to improvements in domestic policies and economic management as well as full participation and delivery of relief by international financial institutions and the donor community.

Last April, Ministers endorsed a World Bank plan to help make primary education a reality for all children by 2015 and to achieve gender equality in primary and secondary education by 2005. At the annual meetings they reviewed implementation of the Education for All – Fast Track Initiative and requested a progress report on results achieved for the spring meetings in 2003.

Recognising the special challenges faced by Africa in meeting the millennium development goals, Ministers urged the bank and the IMF to scale up assistance to these countries and to build on the NEPAD initiative as a unique opportunity to make significant and quick progress building on African leadership.

Ministers reaffirmed the crucial importance of trade as a source of growth and poverty reduction. They recognised that it is essential for developed countries to do more to open their markets and eliminate trade-distorting subsidies for products that represent major potential exports for developing countries.

Committee members reviewed further experience with poverty reduction strategy Papers – PRSPs – which confirmed the broad findings of the joint bank-fund review earlier this year and were encouraged by the increased momentum in countries' efforts to develop and implement their PRSPs.

On the issue of the global economy, Ministers observed that recovery is proceeding, although at a slower pace than expected earlier this year. Growth is expected to strengthen in the near term, supported by a strong policy response across the international community. In the advanced economies, growth generally is expected to strengthen. However, monetary policy-makers should remain ready to respond to developments where necessary and to ease policy further if the risk of economic weakness intensifies and inflation prospects remain subdued.
Committee members welcomed the managing director's report on the IMF in a process of change, which sets out the reforms under way to make the fund more effective in promoting greater financial stability and stronger global growth.
Support was voiced for the fund's continuing role in helping poor countries address the challenge of meeting the millennium development goals by supporting economic reforms aimed at accelerating growth and reducing poverty.
Committee members welcomed actions taken by many countries to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism, in response to the action plan agreed in Ottawa last year, and urged countries that have not fully responded to do so urgently. An annual report on Ireland's participation in the Bretton Woods Institutions is published and laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas.