The Region

About the International Monetary Fund

Published December 1, 1999  | December 1999 issue

  • The IMF was created following a conference of world leaders at Bretton Woods, N.H., in 1944 and began financial operations on March 1, 1947. Both the IMF and its complementary-though very separate-organization, the World Bank, were established to help stabilize the world economy after World War II.

  • The IMF's mission is to promote international monetary cooperation and stability, to facilitate the expansion and balanced growth of international trade by maintaining an orderly system of payments, and by lending money to member countries that face serious balance of payments difficulties. Conversely, the World Bank focuses on economic development assistance only to developing or transition countries.

  • Current Membership: 182 countries.

  • Location: Washington, D.C.

  • Staff: About 2,700 from 110 countries.

  • Accounting Unit: Special Drawing Right (SDR). As of Aug. 23, 1999, SDR 1 equaled U.S. $1.370280.

  • The Executive Board, the IMF's permanent-making body, consists of 24 executive directors appointed or elected by member countries. Eight countries have individual votes (United States, Germany, Japan, France, United Kingdom, Russia, Saudi Arabia and China); 16 other members represent group of countries.

For more information on the IMF go to