IMF chief visits Dubai, stresses need for regional cooperation
Horst Köhler, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) arrived in Dubai this week to visit the facilities that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is preparing for the World Bank-IMF Annual Meeting, scheduled to take place in September 2003, for the first time in the Arab world. He also had an opportunity to meet some of the officials from the UAE government, from the ministry of finance and the governor of the central bank.
Köhler stated: “I am deeply impressed by what I have seen here in Dubai. I do think, from the facilities, that everything is nearly in the best possible shape to make the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and the IMF this fall, a success.”
“The Dubai International Convention Center is, in our view, technically absolutely state-of-the-art. From what I saw and heard today, it is clear that the infrastructure for our meetings is already largely in place. I wish strongly to express my appreciation and also gratitude for the exceptional efforts of the Dubai and United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities for their support of this Annual Meeting of the Bretton Woods institutions, and I look really forward to returning here to Dubai in September to see the meeting taking place.”
“I should inform you that I came here to Dubai after a short but very intensive visit to Doha. There, I participated in a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council and I reported to the Ministers there how I see the global economy. I was impressed about the resolve expressed by the Ministers to take on the challenge of the current situation, and also to demonstrate that one of the answers is stronger regional cooperation. I encouraged them to go ahead with this idea.”
“The IMF and the World Bank work to foster international cooperation in the monetary, financial and development fields. Holding this first Annual Meetings in the Arab world, particularly Dubai, is long overdue recognition of the fact that the Middle East is an integral part of the world economy and a key player in the process of global cooperation. I will do everything to demonstrate that the IMF, with its global membership of 184 members, is attentive to this region and that we are committed to giving the region attention also in our own policy process and cooperation.”
“For the Middle East, and the global economy more generally, this is certainly a difficult period. However, it seems the region has weathered recent storms relatively well. We expect growth in the region to recover to about four to five percent in 2003. That said, more is achievable, and there is further need for structural change, in particular through greater diversification of the region's economies. And one strong basis for opening up to attract more investment, is also more transparency.”
“I can use the opportunity of this meeting with you to express my admiration to the UAE authorities about their clear resolve to go ahead, to move ahead with more transparency. They, for instance, have published the substance of our so-called Article IV `Staff Reports', which is a major step toward demonstrating that the authorities are open, and also to demonstrate transparency in their policy process.”
“As I said before, I also met yesterday evening with the finance ministers and central bank governors of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Doha, and I was impressed by the countries' commitment to regional cooperation. The GCC countries clearly appreciate that strengthening economic cooperation, and promoting structural reforms, are the best way to foster sustainable economic growth. Similar sentiments were reflected in discussions I had today with senior representatives of the Arab Monetary Fund, who also underscored the need for greater transparency.”
“And we have also agreed in this meeting with Dr. al Mannai that we are going to increase the cooperation between the International Monetary Fund and the Arab Monetary Fund. I do think that we can draw on the experience of staff and management of the Arab Monetary Fund. It is our policy in the IMF to listen more carefully to the people who come from the region.”
Köhler added: “Global growth is presently weak. But I believe that the recovery will strengthen in the months ahead. I hope, and I am quite confident, that when we return here in September we shall be able to speak with more assurance about this strengthening recovery. I am confident that, working together, the international community can do a great deal to improve economic prospects.“
“The international community is also in the process of forming now a consensus on the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Iraq—this is now overdue. As uncertainties surrounding Iraq are addressed, I am certain the Middle East region as a whole will benefit. For its part, the IMF is prepared to help in the reconstruction and development of Iraq. This weekend, I will be sending a small staff team to Baghdad for fact-finding and assessment of technical assistance needs.”
“And the IMF concentrates on its core areas of competence—that is how you set up a budget, a transparent integrated budget—how you set up a monetary policy, including a central bank which runs a monetary policy, how you set up relations to the external world, a payment system and a stable currency. All this has to be reviewed and hopefully we can give some good advice for this macro-economic framework for sustained growth and recovery in Iraq.
We will also be participating fully in multilateral discussions to help organize further assistance to Iraq,” he concluded. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)