Reform of IMF loan system high on agenda at spring meeting

Pascal Couchepin (left) and Kaspar Villiger are representing Switzerland

The Swiss economics and finance ministers, Pascal Couchepin and Kaspar Villiger, are in Washington to attend the two-day spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

This content was published on April 27, 2001 minutes

The president of the Swiss National Bank, Jean-Pierre Roth, is also representing Switzerland at the talks.

Debate in the International Monetary and Financial Committee focused on ways of simplifying conditions attached to credits from the IMF. The talks are also expected to deal with ways of strengthening the international financial system.

Monday's meeting of the Development Committee of the Bretton Woods institutions is due to deal with World Bank strategy for middle-income countries and the initiative in favour of the most indebted countries.

Roth has said the meetings will present an opportunity to acquire a better understanding of the effects of the slowdown of economic growth in the United States.

Switzerland has been a member of the World Bank and IMF since 1992. It has a seat on the governing boards of both organisations and leads a group that includes Poland, Yugoslavia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

At the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Prague last September, Villiger said it was crucial for the two bodies to deal openly with the mistrust about a globalisation.

He added that it was paradoxical that at a time of vibrant economic activity in most regions, leaders were not able to convince people of the benefits of globalisation.

He warned that the two institutions had to cooperate more effectively and focus on their core functions to do this.

Villiger also said that it was important for the World Bank to prepare a long-term strategy to define in operational terms how to support countries in their fight against poverty.

swissinfo with agencies

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