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World Bank, IMF meet stresses need to hear voice of developing world

Vimala Vasan


Mr Horst Kohler, Managing Director, IMF

Dubai , Sept 24

A POSSIBLE consensus on better representation and voting rights for developing countries in the World Bank and IMF and a strong call for resumption of multi-lateral trade talks were highlighted by the World Bank and IMF chiefs, at the conclusion of the Dubai 2003 Annual Meetings of the Board of Governors of the World Bank and IMF here today.

The annual meetings ended on a positive note with an upbeat outlook on the global economy and encouraging discussions that reflected a greater sense of balance and awareness between the developed and developing countries on trade and aid and dealing together in a spirit of multi-lateral cooperation.

The heads of the World Bank and the IMF at a press conference to announce the concluding statement of the Dubai 2003 meetings here today also heaped lavish praise on the Dubai authorities and the UAE Government for the excellent organisation of the annual meetings.

Mr James Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank, said that the Dubai 2003 meetings brought to the fore very positive discussions and a greater sense of balance between the developing and the developed countries with regard to trade and aid. Further discussions on dealing together were held and this is a positive sign, he said.

Mr Horst Kohler, IMF Managing Director, said that there was a clear view among the participants that the global economy was on a good track to recovery and that discussions were held in a spirit of multi-lateral cooperation.

Mr Kohler also indicated that the discussions highlighted the fact that the voice of the developing world needs to be heard and that there is need for more financing for development. "There is recognition that all countries, whether rich or poor or emerging market countries are sitting in one boat and that this is an inter-dependent world." There was strong encouragement for the inter-dependent approach, he said.

The need for better representation in these two financial institutions for developing countries was discussed. Mr Kohler hoped that the shareholders would listen to the need for more representation and voting rights. "Consensus is possible for both of us," he added.

Mr Kohler also stressed on the importance of resuming trade talks and said that the IMF initiative to send letters to heads of states and leaders will seek to draw information on the issues at stake in these negotiations and put together arguments on all sides.

He said there is a great need to make sure that the multi-lateral trade negotiations resume as trade is the most powerful vehicle for growth.

He indicated that there may not be strong growth numbers in developing countries without multi-lateral trade and this could lead to many negative factors including serving as a breeding ground for terrorism. "It is time to act through political will to overcome the blockade," he reiterated.

Mr Kaspar Villiger, Chairman of the annual meetings, said that the Dubai 2003 discussions stressed on the need for structural reforms and reduction of fiscal deficits and also expressed concern on the slow resumption of trade talks. The efforts to achieve millennium development goals should also be accelerated, he said.

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