Governance of the IMF
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was created in July 1944, during the Bretton Woods Conference (US). The 44 governments represented wished to establish a framework for economic cooperation designed to prevent a return to uncooperative economic policies which contributed to the global spread of the economic crisis of the 1930s. The Fund currently has 189 Member States, with the Republic of Nauru joining on 12 April 2016.
The IMF works to foster global monetary cooperation, facilitate the balanced development of international trade, ensure the stability of exchange rates and provide resources to countries facing balance of payments problems.
The IMF’s major focuses are defined by the Board of Governors which meets at the Annual Meeting of the IMF and World Bank. Its daily business is supervised by an Executive Board composed of 24 members.
French citizen Christine Lagarde took over the role of IMF Managing Director in July 2011. Following her first five-year term, she was re-elected in July 2016 by the IMF Executive Board.
Each IMF member country has a quota based on its relative position in the global economy. This quota sets the financial contributions that each country must pay to the institution, its voting rights and the amount of financial assistance that it can receive from the Fund.
The IMF’s resources are constituted principally by its members quotas. In the event of a shortfall, the Fund can call on multilateral and bilateral borrowing mechanisms with its members. With the conditions for the effectiveness of quota increases following the 14th General Review of Quotas being met in 2016, the IMF’s total resources were increased and reached 940 billion special drawing rights (SDR) or $1,310 billion. France contributed $42 billion to this effort.
Since the 2008 economic crisis, the IMF has started a process of fundamental governance reforms in order to make the Fund more representative of the current economic realities, particularly as regards the influence of emerging countries on the global economy.
France and the IMF
France’s representative on the IMF Board of Governors is usually the Minister of Finance or the Governor of the Bank of France.
Since the reform of the IMF Executive Board in January 2016, all 24 board members are elected. Previously, the countries with the five highest quotas (US, Japan, Germany, France, UK) each had the right to nominate a board member and 19 other board members were elected by the other member countries.
France currently has a 4.225% quota in the IMF, the fifth-largest quota after the US, Japan, China and Germany and level with the UK (due to a parity agreement). The 2010 Quota Reforms led to the quotas of China, India, Russia and Brazil being increased to better reflect their increasing influence on the global economy.
Against the backdrop of economic and financial instability and uncertainty
following the 2008 economic crisis and the current trade tensions, France defends the pivotal role of the FIM in guaranteeing international financial stability. France therefore actively supported the IMF quota increase decided in June 2012 at the G20 summit in Los Cabos.
Updated: October 2019