IMF’s Executive Directors reiterated their commitment to further debt relief as part of the “international support for lowincome countries, including its poorest and most heavily indebted members,” IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato said on August 3. De Rato noted that the Directors had emphasized that the Group of Eight (G-8) proposal to cancel debt owed by the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs) “could go a long way to complete the process of debt relief for these countries by providing additional balance of payments support from the Fund,” and this could, in turn, free up country resources to pursue the Millennium Development Goals.
In their discussion, the Directors stressed that to provide effective benefits to its recipients, debt relief must be designed and implemented carefully. There was a clear consensus among the Directors, de Rato said, on the importance of preserving the Fund’s ability to provide concessional financial support to its low-income members and preserving the IMF’s principle of uniformity of treatment for all low-income member countries. Going forward, the IMF’s staff will work on “potential modalities to implement the G-8 proposal as a basis for further discussions” by the IMF’s Executive Board before the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings on September 24–25.
The August 3 discussion provided Directors with the opportunity to explore in greater detail the financial, legal, and policy implications of the G-8 proposal for the Fund. This recent discussion also complemented the IMF’s ongoing efforts to find ways to enhance its role in low-income countries—including through such proposals as a nonfinancial mechanism to support policies in low-income countries and the establishment of a financing facility to help countries facing exogenous shocks. The Board is also considering the continued financing for the concessional lending provided under the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility.