The IMF is an international organization of 184 member countries. It was established to promote international monetary cooperation, exchange stability, and orderly exchange arrangements; to foster economic growth and high levels of employment; and to provide temporary financial assistance to countries to help ease balance of payments adjustment. (See Purposes of the IMF in the Articles of Agreement.)
Since the IMF was established its purposes have remained unchanged but its operations—which involve surveillance, financial assistance, and technical assistance—have developed to meet the changing needs of its member countries in an evolving world economy.
Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund
Article I - Purposes
The purposes of the International Monetary Fund are:
To promote international monetary cooperation through a permanent institution which provides the machinery for consultation and collaboration on international monetary problems.
To facilitate the expansion and balanced growth of international trade, and to contribute thereby to the promotion and maintenance of high levels of employment and real income and to the development of the productive resources of all members as primary objectives of economic policy.
To promote exchange stability, to maintain orderly exchange arrangements among members, and to avoid competitive exchange depreciation.
To assist in the establishment of a multilateral system of payments in respect of current transactions between members and in the elimination of foreign exchange restrictions which hamper the growth of world trade.
To give confidence to members by making the general resources of the Fund temporarily available to them under adequate safeguards, thus providing them with opportunity to correct maladjustments in their balance of payments without resorting to measures destructive of national or international prosperity.
In accordance with the above, to shorten the duration and lessen the degree of disequilibrium in the international balances of payments of members.
The Fund shall be guided in all its policies and decisions by the purposes set forth in this Article.
June 6, 2005
Thomas A. Bernes succeeds Montek Singh Ahluwalia as Director of the Independent Evaluation Office. Bernes, a national of Canada, was previously Secretary, Development Committee; Deputy Corporate Secretary, World Bank; and IMF Executive Director for Canada, Ireland, and the Caribbean.
May 16, 2005
The IMF opens its second headquarters building in downtown Washington, D.C.
January 31, 2005
The Russian Federation completes the early repayment of its entire outstanding obligations to the IMF amounting to SDR 2.19 billion (about US$3.33 billion). The loans, which had been approved by the IMF Executive Board in March 1996, were originally scheduled to be paid off in 2008.
November 18, 2004
The IMF and the World Bank launch the quarterly External Debt Database, an online database containing quarterly external debt statistics for 41 countries.
October 25, 2004
The IMF opens the Middle East Technical Assistance Center (METAC) in Beirut, Lebanon, to promote capacity building and training in the region. METAC will serve Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Syria, West Bank and Gaza, and Yemen.
July 28, 2004
Bangladesh becomes the first country to benefit from assistance in accordance with the Trade Integration Mechanism (TIM), through augmented access to financing under its Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility arrangement.
June 7, 2004
On June 7, 2004, Rodrigo de Rato, previously Spain’s Minister of Finance, begins his five-year term as IMF Managing Director.
IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato initiates a broad review of the IMF’s medium-term strategic direction on the occasion of the Bretton Woods institutions’ 60th anniversary.
April 2, 2004
IMF establishes the Trade Integration Mechanism (TIM) to help developing countries overcome temporary balance of payments difficulties that can result from increased trade liberalization.
March 4, 2004
IMF Managing Director Horst Köhler announced his resignation, effective immediately, following his nomination for the position of President of the Federal Republic of Germany. First Deputy Managing Director Anne O. Krueger became Acting Managing Director pending the selection of a new Managing Director by the IMF's Executive Board.
April 13, 2003
Development Committee approves a joint IMF-World Bank project to monitor the policies and actions needed for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
April 12, 2003
International Financial and Monetary Committee decides against establishment of a statutory sovereign debt restructuring mechanism and shifts the IMF’s focus toward finding other methods for the orderly resolution of financial crises.
March 31, 2003
Management takes steps to enhance the capacity of the offices of African constituencies on the Executive Board as a first step toward ensuring adequate voice and representation for all members.
February 4, 2003
Twelfth General Review of Quotas is concluded without a proposal to increase IMF quotas, which remain unchanged at SDR 212.7 billion ($287 billion).
January 24, 2003
IMF approves financial support enabling Argentina to defer $6.6 billion in repayments to IMF.
November 22, 2002
Approval of 12-month pilot project to support international effort to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
October 24, 2002
East Africa Regional Technical Assistance Center (AFRITAC) opened as part of IMF’s response to Africa’s request for help in strengthening institutions and in designing and implementing better policies.
October 2, 2002
IMF launches website on statistical practices related to foreign direct investment to meet the needs of researchers, financial analysts, and journalists.
September 26, 2002
Adoption of new conditionality guidelines aimed at promoting national ownership of policy reforms and streamlining and focusing conditionality.
September 25, 2002
First report of the Independent Evaluation Office reviews prolonged use of IMF resources. In response, the Managing Director establishes a task force to implement IEO recommendations aimed at strengthening the effectiveness of IMF-supported programs.
September 6, 2002
IMF approves new stand-by arrangement for Brazil, the largest in the institution’s history.
September 6, 2002
Executive Board tightens the standards for approving financial support to members in excess of normal limits in relation to the member’s quota.
July 23, 2002
East Timor becomes 184th member of IMF
July 10, 2002
Köhler names advisory panel for Argentina
February 25, 2002
The IMF announced the appointment of Anoop Singh to the newly created position of Direction for Special Operations.
February 4, 2002
IMF Executive Board approves a three-year $16 billion loan for Turkey, the largest one the IMF has extended to date.
January 16, 2002
IMF Executive Board agrees to a one-year extension of Argentina's due date for a $933 million repayment under the Supplemental Reserve Facility.
January 1, 2002
In the final step in European economic and monetary union, euro notes and coins are introduced in the 12 countries of the euro area.
November 26, 2001
IMF First Deputy Managing Director Anne Krueger proposes plan under which countries with unsustainable debts would be protected from their creditors while they negotiate with them.
September 17, 2001
World Bank and IMF announce the Annual Meetings will not be held in the wake of terrorist attacks on the United States.
June 7, 2001
Managing Director Horst Köhler announces appointments of Anne O. Krueger as First Deputy Managing Director; Gerd Hausler as Counsellor and Director of the International Capital Markets Department; Kenneth Rogoff as Economic Counsellor and Director of the Research Department; and Timothy Geithner as Director of the Policy Development and Review Department.
May 8, 2001
IMF Deputy Managing Director Stanley Fischer announces his intention to resign his post later this year.
April 27, 2001
IMF and Brazil agree to establish Joint Regional Training Center for Latin America.
March 7, 2001
IMF Executive Board reviews the conditions attached to the use of IMF resources (conditionality)and agrees to move toward a more streamlined and focused approach.
March 1, 2001
IMF announces it will establish the International Capital Markets Department to enhance its surveillance, crisis prevention, and crisis management activities.
February 2, 2001
IMF approves increase in China's quota to SDR 6,369.2 million from SDR 4,687.2 million to reflect China's position in the world economy after resuming sovereignty over Hong Kong.
January 8, 2001
IMF Managing Director Horst Köhler and World Bank President James Wolfensohn announce that 22 countries, 18 in Africa, qualify for debt relief under the HIPC Initiative. This relief will represent a two-thirds reduction, on average, of these countries' foreign debt.
August 31, 2000
IMF begins regular publication on its website of information on the sources of financing for IMF lending.
August 23, 2000
As part of ongoing effort to increase transparency, IMF launches a new web page on its finances that provides links to financially related material on the IMF website.
August 9, 2000
As part of its surveillance of developments in international capital markets, IMF begins publishing quarterly reports on emerging market financing on its website.
August 1, 2000
Executive Board restores Sudan's voting rights, which had been suspended in August 1993.
July 19, 2000
IMF launches publication on its website of quarterly reports on developments in the Special Data Dissemination Standard, with a view to chronicling progress and giving the initiative more prominence.
May 22, 2000
IMF's General Data Dissemination System enters operation phase.
May 1, 2000
Mr. Horst Köhler, from Germany, was Managing Director from May 1, 2000 to March 4, 2004
April 10, 2000
Executive Board agrees to the establishment of an independent evaluation office to assess the IMF's operations and policies.
December 14, 1999-April 5, 2000
The IMF conducted seven off-market gold transactions with Brazil and Mexico, in which 12.944 million troy ounces of gold were sold and accepted back immediately at the same price in settlement of these members' obligations to the IMF. The IMF retained the book value of the gold (about $47 per troy ounce) and invested the remainder of the proceeds to help finance the IMF's contribution to debt relief and financial support for the world's poorest countries.
April 4, 2000
The IMF's Executive Board adopts plans to monitor more closely the use of its resources by borrowing countries. Starting in July, the central banks of borrowing countries must publish annual financial statements audited, to international standards, by outside experts and provide more economic information to IMF officials.
March 23, 2000
The IMF Executive Board selects Horst Köhler, from Germany, to be the IMF's eighth Managing Director.
Executive Board initiates broader review of IMF financing facilities, agrees to eliminate Currency Stabilization Funds and Debt- and Debt-Service-Reduction Operations.
IMF eliminates its Buffer Stock Financing Facility and the contingency element of the Compensatory and Contingency Financing Facility in order to streamline and simplify its facilities.
December 10, 1999
Uganda becomes first country to receive assistance under the IMF's Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility.
November 22, 1999
The ESAF is renamed the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF); its objectives are to foster durable growth, thereby raising living standards and reducing poverty.
November 9, 1999
Managing Director Michel Camdessus announces his intention to resign in early 2000 after 13 years at the helm of the IMF.
September 30, 1999
The IMF Board of Governors approves a proposal to transform the Interim Committee into the International Monetary and Financial Committee. The change is accompanied by an explicit provision for preparatory meetings of representatives of the committee. The IMF Executive Board adopts a resolution to conduct, as a onetime, exceptional operation, off-market sales of up to 14 million ounces of IMF gold as part of a package to allow the IMF to finance its share of the enhanced HIPC Initiative.
April 23, 1999
Executive Board expands the SRF to provide for Contingent Credit Lines for members that have strong economic policies but that might be affected by financial contagion from other countries.
January 22, 1999
Quota increases under the Eleventh General Review take effect, raising total quotas to SDR 212 billion.
January 1, 1999
Eleven European member countries adopt a new common currency, the euro. The European Central Bank, which manages monetary policy for the euro area, is granted observer status in the IMF.
December 2, 1998
IMF activates New Arrangements to Borrow for the first time to help finance a Stand-By Arrangement for Brazil.
October 6, 1998
At Annual Meetings, governors endorse concept of a new financial architecture--to address far-reaching problems facing the world economy. Its five tenets are increased transparency; consolidation of banking supervision; the orderly, cautious progress toward liberalization of capital movements; and partnership with the private sector.
July 20, 1998
IMF activates General Arrangements to Borrow for first time in 20 years, and first time for a nonparticipant, to finance SDR 6.3 billion augmentation of Extended Arrangement for Russia.
April 8, 1998
Uganda becomes first member to receive debt relief (approximately $350 million in net-present-value terms) under the HIPC Initiative, to which IMF is to contribute about $160 million.
December 17, 1997
In the wake of the financial crisis in Asia, the IMF establishes the Supplemental Reserve Facility (SRF) to help members cope with sudden and disruptive loss of market confidence. The SRF is activated the next day to support the Stand-By Arrangement for Korea.
December 4, 1997
Executive Board approves a Stand-By Arrangement of SDR 15.5 billion for Korea, the largest financial commitment in IMF history.
September 20, 1997
Executive Board reaches agreement on proposal to amend Articles of Agreement that will allow all members to receive an equitable share of cumulative SDR allocations.
April 25, 1997
Executive Board approves issuance of Public Information Notices following conclusion of members' Article IV consultations with the IMF, at the request of the member, to make the IMF's views known to the public.
January 27, 1997
Executive Board approves New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB) as the first and principal recourse in the event of a need to provide supplementary resources to the IMF.
September 30, 1996
IMF Opens Web Site.
Interim and Development Committees endorse joint initiative for heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC Initiative).
April 16, 1996
IMF establishes voluntary Special Data Dissemination Standard for member countries having, or seeking, access to international capital markets. A General Data Dissemination System will be implemented later.
March 26, 1996
Executive Board approves an SDR 6.9 billion Extended Fund Facility for Russia, the largest EFF in IMF history.
February 1, 1995
Executive Board approves a Stand-By Arrangement of SDR 12.1 billion for Mexico, the largest financial commitment by the IMF up to this time.
October 2, 1994
Interim Committee adopts the Madrid Declaration, calling on industrial countries to sustain growth, reduce unemployment, and prevent a resurgence of inflation; developing countries to extend growth; and transition economies to pursue bold stabilization and reform efforts.
September 1, 1994
Stanley M. Fischer served as First Deputy Managing Director from September 1, 1994 to August 31, 2001
July 1, 1994
Prabhakar Narvekar served as Deputy Managing Director from July 1, 1994 to January 31, 1997
July 1, 1994
Alassane D. Ouattara served as Deputy Managing Director from July 1, 1994 to July 31, 1999
June 6, 1994
IMF announces creation of three Deputy Managing Director posts.
IMF approves arrangements for 13 countries of the CFA franc zone, following January realignment of CFA franc.
February 23, 1994
Executive Board initiates operations under renewed and enlarged ESAF.
May 13, 1993
Kyrgyz Republic is first member to use STF.
April 16, 1993
Executive Board approves creation of Systemic Transformation Facility (STF) to assist countries facing balance of payments difficulties arising from the transformation from a planned to a market economy. It is to be in place through 1994.
Executive Board adopts Third Amendment of Articles of Agreement. Quota increases under Ninth General Review of Quotas take effect.
August 5, 1992
IMF approves SDR 719 million Stand-By Arrangement for Russia.
Executive Board approves membership of countries of the former Soviet Union.
October 5, 1991
U.S.S.R. signs agreement with IMF providing for technical assistance, pending its application for full membership.
Executive Board approves temporary expansion of IMF facilities to support countries affected by Middle East crisis.
June 28, 1990
Executive Board proposes increasing total IMF quotas from SDR 90.1 billion to SDR 135.2 billion under Ninth General Review of Quotas.
May 7-8, 1990
Interim Committee agrees to 50 percent quota increase. Committee recommends Third Amendment to Articles of Agreement, providing for suspension of voting and other membership rights for members that do not fulfill financial obligations to IMF. Committee also approves rights-accumulation program, which permits members with protracted arrears to establish a track record on policies and payments performance and to accumulate rights for future drawings.
May 23, 1989
Executive Board strengthens the strategy for dealing with developing country debt problem, based in part on proposals by U.S. Treasury Secretary Nicholas F. Brady. Countries with strong adjustment programs will gain access to IMF resources for debt- or debt-service reduction.
September 25-26, 1988
Interim Committee endorses intensified collaborative approach to arrears problem.
August 23, 1988
IMF Executive Board establishes Compensatory and Contingency Financing Facility to compensate members with shortfalls in export earnings because of circumstances beyond their control and to help maintain adjustment programs in the face of external shocks.
December 29, 1987
IMF establishes Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) to provide resources to low-income members undertaking strong three-year macroeconomic and structural programs to improve their balance of payments and foster growth.
February 22, 1987
Finance ministers of six major nations meet; IMF Managing Director de Larosière participates. Ministers agree, in Louvre Accord, to intensify policy coordination and to cooperate closely to foster stability of exchange rates "around current levels."
January 16, 1987
Michel Camdessus, from France, was Managing Director from January 16, 1987 to February 14, 2000
April 9-10, 1986
Interim Committee calls for enhanced policy coordination to improve functioning of floating exchange rate system.
March 27, 1986
IMF establishes Structural Adjustment Facility (SAF) to provide balance of payments assistance on concessional terms to low-income developing countries.
December 2, 1985
IMF Managing Director de Larosière and World Bank President A. W. Clausen express broad support for the debt initiative proposed by U.S. Treasury Secretary James A. Baker. The initiative calls for comprehensive adjustment measures by debtors, increased and more effective structural lending by multilateral development banks, and expanded lending by commercial banks.
October 6-7, 1985
Interim Committee agrees that about SDR 2.7 billion in Trust Fund reflows to become available during 1985–91 will be used to provide concessional lending to low-income members.
June 1, 1984
Richard D. Erb served as Deputy Managing Director from June 1, 1984 to September 1, 1994
December 30, 1983
Ten participants in General Arrangements to Borrow (GAB) concur on plans to revise and enlarge the GAB.
November 30, 1983
Increases in quotas under Eighth General Review take effect.
Interim Committee agrees to increase IMF quotas under Eighth General Review. IMF Board of Governors adopts resolution on quota increase.
August 13, 1982
Mexico encounters serious problems servicing its foreign debt, marking onset of debt crisis. In following months, IMF supports major adjustment programs in Mexico and several other countries facing severe debt-servicing difficulties.
May 21, 1981
IMF extends financing to members encountering balance of payments difficulties produced by excesses in the cost of cereal imports. Assistance is integrated into the IMF's Compensatory Financing Facility.
May 13, 1981
IMF reaches agreement in principle with central banks or official agencies of 13 industrial countries, under which they will make available SDR 1.1 billion over two years to help finance the IMF's policy on enlarged access.
May 7, 1981
IMF Managing Director de Larosière and Governor of Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency H.E. Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Quraishi sign loan agreement allowing the IMF to borrow up to SDR 8 billion to finance IMF's policy of enlarged access, which thus becomes operative.
April 23, 1981
IMF announces decisions to enhance SDR's attractiveness as reserve asset. Measures include making interest rate more competitive and eliminating reconstitution requirement (allowing members to use SDRs permanently).
March 13, 1981
IMF decides to institute policy of enlarged access to its resources following full commitment of resources from Supplementary Financing Facility and until Eighth General Review of Quotas takes effect.
January 1, 1981
IMF begins to use simplified basket of five currencies to determine daily valuation of SDR.
December 1, 1980
IMF announces that 128 members have consented to quota increases under Seventh General Review, meeting the minimum participation requirement for quota increase, under which aggregate quotas would be raised to SDR 60 billion.
September 17, 1980
IMF decides to unify and simplify, as of January 1, 1981, currency baskets determining value and interest rate on SDR. Unified basket to be composed of currencies of five members with largest exports of goods and services during 1975–79: U.S. dollar, deutsche mark, French franc, Japanese yen, and pound sterling.
April 25, 1980
Interim Committee agrees IMF should be ready to play growing role in adjustment and financing of payments imbalances by providing assistance over longer periods and in larger amounts.
February 23, 1979
Supplementary Financing Facility enters into force.
September 24, 1978
Interim Committee approves 50 percent quota increase under Seventh Review, which, when accepted by all members, raises IMF general resources to SDR 58.6 billion; it also agrees on new allocations of SDR 4 billion each year for three years beginning January 1979.
June 17, 1978
Jacques de Larosière, from France, was Managing Director from June 17, 1978 to January 15, 1987
April 1, 1978
Second Amendment of Articles of Agreement enters into force, establishing the right of members to adopt exchange rate arrangements of their choice.
August 29, 1977
Executive Board establishes Supplementary Financing Facility.
February 4, 1977
IMF makes first loan disbursements under Trust Fund.
June 2, 1976
IMF holds first gold auction under Interim Committee understandings on disposition of one-third of IMF gold holdings. Proceeds of sales to go to Trust Fund to benefit developing countries.
May 5, 1976
Executive Board establishes a Trust Fund to provide balance of payments assistance to developing country members with profits from the sale of gold. The Board decides on policies and procedures for selling gold.
January 7-8, 1976
Interim Committee agrees on "interim reform" of monetary system, including amendment of Article IV and other issues.
August 1, 1975
Executive Board establishes a Subsidy Account, funded by contributions, to assist the most seriously affected members using the oil facility.
October 3, 1974
Interim Committee holds inaugural meeting following its establishment on October 2.
September 13, 1974
IMF sets up Extended Fund Facility to give medium-term assistance to members with balance of payments problems resulting from structural economic changes.
June 12-13, 1974
Committee of 20 concludes work, agreeing on immediate program to help monetary system evolve. Executive Board establishes oil facility and adopts "Guidelines for the Management of Floating Exchange Rates" and new method of SDR valuation based on basket of 16 currencies.
March 1, 1974
William B. Dale served as Deputy Managing Director from March 1, 1974 to May 31, 1984
September 1, 1973
H. Johannes Witteveen, from the Netherlands, was Managing Director from September 1, 1973 to June 16, 1978
March 19, 1973
"Generalized floating" begins as European Community countries introduce joint float for their currencies against U.S. dollar.
July 26, 1972
Board of Governors adopts resolution establishing a Committee on Reform of the International Monetary System, known as the Committee of 20.
December 18, 1971
After four months of negotiations, Smithsonian Agreement provides for realignment of industrial country currencies and increase in price of gold. IMF establishes temporary regime of central rates and wider margins.
August 15, 1971
United States informs IMF it will no longer freely buy and sell gold to settle international transactions. Par values and convertibility of the dollar—two main features of the Bretton Woods system—cease to exist.
January 1, 1970
First allocation of SDRs.
July 28, 1969
First Amendment to Articles of Agreement, establishing a facility based on the SDR, takes effect after acceptance by three-fifths of membership representing four-fifths of voting power.
June 25, 1969
Buffer Stock Financing Facility is established.
September 29, 1967
Board of Governors approves plan to establish special drawing rights (SDRs).
September 1, 1963
Pierre-Paul Schweitzer, from France, was Managing Director from September 1, 1963 to August 31, 1973
February 27, 1963
Compensatory Financing Facility is created.
November 1, 1962
Frank A. Southard, Jr. served as Deputy Managing Director from November 1, 1962 to February 28, 1974
January 5, 1962
Executive Board adopts terms and conditions of General Arrangements to Borrow (GAB).
November 21, 1956
Per Jacobsson, from Sweden, was Managing Director from November 21, 1956 to May 5, 1963
March 16, 1953
H. Merle Cochran served as Deputy Managing Director from March 16, 1953 to October 31, 1962
October 1, 1952
Executive Board approves proposals for standardized Stand-By Arrangements.
August 13-14, 1952
Germany and Japan become members.
August 3, 1951
Ivar Rooth, from Sweden, was Managing Director from August 3, 1951 to October 3, 1956
February 9, 1949
Andrew N. Overby served as Deputy Managing Director from February 9, 1949 to January 24, 1952
May 8, 1947
First drawing from IMF (by France).
March 1, 1947
IMF begins operations.
September 27-October 5, 1946
First Annual Meetings of Boards of Governors of IMF and World Bank are held in Washington DC, USA.
May 6, 1946
Twelve Executive Directors, five appointed and seven elected, hold inaugural meeting in Washington DC, USA.
May 6, 1946
Camille Gutt, from Belgium, served as the IMF's first Managing Director from May 6, 1946 to May 5, 1951
March 8-18, 1946
Inaugural meeting of Board of Governors in Savannah, Georgia: by-laws are adopted, agreement is reached to locate IMF headquarters in Washington, and first Executive Directors are elected.
December 27, 1945
Articles of Agreement enter into force upon signature by 29 governments, representing 80 percent of original quotas.
July 1-22, 1944
IMF and World Bank Articles of Agreement are formulated at the International Monetary and Financial Conference, Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, USA
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