Villiger calls for more transparency at IMF/World Bank meeting

The Swiss finance minister, Kaspar Villiger, has called for more transparency in globalisation to reduce its side effects, at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank meeting in Prague.

This content was published on September 27, 2000 - 17:07

"While globalisation opens incredible perspectives, it can also pave the way for new risks. This can go from financial instability to the transmission of disease," said Villiger on Wednesday.

The finance minister said the process of globalisation had become inevitable, and made the mandate of the IMF and World Bank more and more difficult. To carry out this mandate, Villiger said both institutions had to strengthen co-operation and concentrate on their basic tasks.

He said more precise data and a more open policy were needed to meet the expectations of the markets, but praised the IMF and World Bank for improving their record in this field.

The IMF has reformed its credit tools to help prevent of financial crises, but for the Swiss treasurer, the private financial sector also has to participate.

In addition, Villiger called on major financial centres to join developing countries in the IMF's Financial Sector Assessment Programme, designed to detect potential sources of instability at an early stage.

As to the World Bank, Villiger believes it is important it pursue a long-term strategy in the fight against poverty. This task is a priority for the finance minister, who believes it is necessary to reduce the debt of poorer nations.

He said there should be a balance between speed and quality in the attempt to cut the debt of these countries. Those who wish to benefit from the IMF's Highly Indebted Poor Countries programme must also have healthy economic policies and the will to improve their management.

So far, 10 countries have qualified to take part, representing $50 billion of debt relief. Switzerland is helping to the tune of SFr160 million.

swissinfo with agencies

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