The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an organisation of 187 countries that works to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty. As of March 2011, the IMF had $111.8 billion in loans outstanding to 87 countries. Of this, $7.7 billion was on concessional terms to 65 countries.
The IMF Articles of Agreement were drawn up at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944. Membership is open to all countries. Ratification of the articles and acceptance of conditions laid down by the Fund are conditions of membership. The purposes of the Fund are to:
- Promote international monetary cooperation through consultation and collaboration
- Facilitate the expansion and balanced growth of international trade, and thereby contribute to the promotion and maintenance of high levels of employment and real income
- Promote exchange stability and orderly exchange arrangements
- Assist in the establishment of a multilateral system of payments and the elimination of foreign exchange restrictions
- Assist members through the temporary provision of financial resources to correct maladjustments in their balance of payments.
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