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Marrakech Welcomes World Bank and IMF Annual Meetings: What to Expect

A view of an advertising billboard for the upcoming annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, following last month’s deadly earthquake, near the Palais des Congres in Marrakech, Morocco October 1, 2023. Photo credit: REUTERS/Abdelhak Balhaki
A view of an advertising billboard for the upcoming annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, following last month's deadly earthquake, near the Palais des Congres in Marrakech, Morocco October 1, 2023. REUTERS/Abdelhak Balhaki

Marrakech Welcomes World Bank and IMF Annual Meetings: What to Expect

As the vibrant city of Marrakech in Morocco readies itself to host the annual gatherings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from October 9 to 15, 2023, global observers are abuzz with discussions surrounding the pivotal issues slated for deliberation at this significant event.

A recurrent theme that has echoed through recent diplomatic summits revolves around the imperative need for an overhaul of the international financial system. This includes the implementation of robust mechanisms to triple low-cost financing for developing nations, as well as to provide essential debt relief for countries grappling with financial distress.

In the preceding months, there has been a groundswell of support for various proposals aimed at reshaping the global financial landscape:

  • The G20 shareholders have collectively endorsed a joint agreement, advocating for “better, bigger, and more effective” multilateral development banks.
  • Notably, prominent client countries, particularly from the African continent, have vociferously called for tangible, time-bound action towards reforming the multilateral financial framework. This initiative aims to instill fairness and equity while fortifying the continent’s resilience against climate-induced shocks.
  • The G77+ China coalition, comprising 134 developing and emerging nations representing a staggering 80% of the global populace, has emphatically emphasized the urgent need for a comprehensive overhaul of the international financial architecture. They propose a more inclusive and coordinated approach to global financial governance.
  • Public development banks have outlined their unwavering commitments to actively contribute to this reformative process.
  • The UN Secretary General has fervently urged financial institutions to promptly embark on these necessary reforms. Additionally, a groundswell of youth and people’s movements have taken to the streets, demanding transformations in the international financial institutions that play a pivotal role in shaping global multilateral finance.

The Crux of the Matter: Anticipated Topics for Discussion in October

  1. Unleashing Concessional Financing: Recent research indicates that adhering to the recommendations of the Capital Adequacy Framework review could potentially unlock an impressive sum of nearly $190 billion in additional low-cost financing for developing nations. This boost could be achieved without jeopardizing the Bank’s esteemed AAA credit rating.

    World Bank President, Ajay Banga, asserts that fresh contributions from affluent nations coupled with strategic balance sheet adjustments could amplify the bank’s lending capacity by an estimated $100 billion to $125 billion over the span of a decade. However, Banga candidly acknowledges that this augmentation falls significantly short of current needs. He likened it to “a pimple on a dimple on an ant’s left cheek compared to what we need in the world.”

    Earlier reports hinted at the US contemplating a $25 billion capital augmentation for the Bank, with the potential to escalate this figure to well over $100 billion if other G20 nations follow suit.

  2. Evolution Roadmap and Mission: The World Bank’s development committee scrutinized the institution’s updated evolution roadmap back in April. They reached a consensus to advance in areas such as balance sheet optimization for IDA, exploring enhanced callable capital and shareholder-purchased hybrid capital, and considering the potential voluntary channelling of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). The Board awaits formal approval of the Bank’s updated mission, centred on “eradicating poverty and promoting growth on a liveable planet”. Expect to witness the unveiling of these updates during the upcoming World Bank and IMF meetings.
  3. Innovations in Hedging Inward Investments: Mia Mottley and her advisor, Avinash Persaud, advocate for pioneering mechanisms, including a partial foreign exchange (FX) guarantee. This approach aims to lower the cost of capital, thereby encouraging significant private capital influx. This proposal could gain further momentum during the forthcoming World Bank and IMF annual meetings.
  4. Special Drawing Rights Allocation and AfDB Recycling: African leaders are urging the IMF to contemplate allocating a fresh tranche of $650 billion of Special Drawing Rights to address the climate crisis. They advocate for a more equitable distribution compared to the previous allocation. Additionally, they support the notion of rerouting the Special Drawing Rights through the African Development Bank, where they could serve as hybrid capital. Progress on these crucial demands may materialize during the meetings.
  5. US Proposition for the Loss and Damage Facility: The US has proposed that the Loss and Damage Facility be administered by the World Bank, effectively removing it from the UNFCCC space. This shift implies that the World Bank would assume the role of providing secretariat services and acting as trustee for the fund. However, concerns have been raised regarding the absence of an independent board for the proposed facility and the potential imbalance of representation, which could potentially skew power towards affluent nations.

In conclusion, the forthcoming annual meetings in Marrakech hold great promise in addressing pivotal global economic issues. With an array of proposals and reforms on the table, the world looks on with anticipation, hopeful for constructive progress towards a more equitable and resilient financial future. Stay tuned for comprehensive coverage as the events unfold.

For more information on the proposed reforms, refer to World Bank Portal.

 


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