The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international
organization that resulted from the Bretton Woods Conference (1944). Conceived at the end of the Second World War, its idealizers had the objective of building a framework for cooperation to avoid the repetition of the economic policies that led to the Great Depression of the 1930s and to the global conflict that followed it.
The organization's stated objective is the promotion of international economic cooperation, international trade, employment and exchange rate stability, by, among other mechanisms, making financial resources available to member countries in order to help them with the stability of their balance of payments.
The 188 member countries contribute by making available part of their international reserves to the IMF. If necessary, the Fund allocates these resources for loan operations to help countries facing balance of payments imbalances. The disbursements of resources are conditioned to the fulfillment of requirements established in a program negotiated with the Fund.
In addition to the loans to help countries in difficulties, the IMF conducts regular monitoring of the economic policy of its members and makes recommendations. The secretariat of the IMF undertakes research, statistical surveys and issues global, regional and country economic forecasts. The Fund also offers technical assistance and training in its area of competence.
Unlike other international organizations, where decisions are taken according to the one country-one vote principle, the IMF follows a corporative decision-making model. Each country’s voting power is determined in proportion to its IMF quotas.
The distribution of quotas is reviewed on a regular basis, allowing the institution to update its governance structure to the increase in the relative participation of emerging countries in the global economy. Brazil is determined to promote the IMF’s reform, with the purpose of increasing the weight of emerging and developing economies in the institution.
The organizational structure of the IMF is headed by the Board of Governors (where the Brazilian Governor is the Ministry of Finance), which makes decisions and elects the Executive Board. There are only 24 directors, leading many directors to represent a group of countries ('constituency'). In the case of Brazil, its Director also represents the following countries: Cape Verde, Ecuador, Guiana, Haiti, Nicaragua, Panama, Dominican Republic, East Timor and Trinidad and Tobago.
The political guidelines of the organization are defined at the International Monetary and Financial Committee biannual ministerial meetings. These meetings, usually held at the IMF headquarters in April and October, bring together a number of ministers corresponding to the number of directors. The Brazilian representative is the Minister of Finance.