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The Role of the IMF in Low-Income Countries: Recent Issues

Domenico Lombardi
Domenico Lombardi Director, Policy Observatory - Luiss University, Rome, Former Brookings Expert

December 5, 2007

Introduction

The question whether the IMF should effectively engage with its low-income member countries has recently generated a wide debate among development economists, policymakers, and advocates from nongovernmental organizations. The issue remains controversial, as views are split among those who, on the one hand, would have the IMF refrain from working with low-income members and those who, on the other, call for a substantial step up in the quality of the Fund’s engagement with these same members. This note elaborates on the important role that the IMF can play in its low-income member countries, points to some current problems with the Fund’s engagement with these countries, and suggests avenues for future improvement.