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International Economic Relations: Developing Countries

Volume 487: debated on Monday 2 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proposals his Department has put forward for the reform of international financial institutions to meet international development objectives; what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Prime Minister and (b) the Chancellor of the Exchequer on these proposals; and if he will make a statement. (251226)

The Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and I have consistently called for reform of the international financial institutions, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The Government want to make these institutions more effective so that they are able to respond better to current and future global challenges. This will need to include addressing weaknesses in their legitimacy. At the October 2008 World Bank annual meetings I and other World Bank governors agreed a first package of measures to reform the Bank's governance, which included increased representation for African countries and opening up the appointment of the World Bank president. We also agreed that a second phase of reform would be taken forward to give poorer countries more say in the World Bank’s decision making.

At the Washington summit on 15 November G20 leaders reaffirmed their commitment to reforming the World Bank and the IMF to increase their legitimacy and effectiveness. My Department is working with other G20 countries to identify specific actions to take forward this agenda. I have regular discussions with the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and other members of the Cabinet about these and other issues that will be discussed at the London summit.