Imf International Monetary Fund

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What does the International Monetary Fund do?

The IMF is the world's central organization for international monetary cooperation. It is an organization in which almost all countries in the world work together to promote the common good.

The IMF's primary purpose is to ensure the stability of the international monetary system—the system of exchange rates and international payments that enables countries (and their citizens) to buy goods and services from each other. This is essential for sustainable economic growth and rising living standards.

To maintain stability and prevent crises in the international monetary system, the IMF reviews national, regional, and global economic and financial developments. It provides advice to its 188 member countries, encouraging them to adopt policies that foster economic stability, reduce their vulnerability to economic and financial crises, and raise living standards, and serves as a forum where they can discuss the national, regional, and global consequences of their policies.

The IMF also makes financing temporarily available to member countries to help them address balance of payments problems—that is, when they find themselves short of foreign exchange because their payments to other countries exceed their foreign exchange earnings.

And it provides technical assistance and training to help countries build the expertise and institutions they need for economic stability and growth.

Why was it created?

The IMF was conceived in July 1944, when representatives of 45 governments meeting in the town of Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in the northeastern United States, agreed on a framework for international economic cooperation. They believed that such a framework was necessary to avoid a repetition of the disastrous economic policies that had contributed to the Great Depression of the 1930s.

During that decade, attempts by countries to shore up their failing economies—by limiting imports, devaluing their

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