WB/IMF collaboration plans

15 December 1998

In response to the external ESAF Review, the World Bank is to collaborate with the IMF in pilot projects in Nicaragua, Vietnam, Tajikistan, Ethiopia, Cameroon and Zimbabwe over the next 12-18 months. These will focus on structural reforms (eg in the banking sector and public enterprises), social impact analysis and the potential for loosening fiscal targets to allow aid resources to be used for investment purposes.

The projects are expected to reveal procedural problems, differences in working methods and other obstacles to collaboration, and provide lessons on how the Fund and Bank can overcome some of them. Executive Boards will receive occasional reports on progress.

More generally, the Bank and Fund are working together to clarify their responsibilities for day to day work, and strengthen institutional mechanisms for consultation and communication, to ensure consistency of approaches, for example to privatisation. However, the IMF insists that in crises it will still take the lead, and a new concordat reemphasising the respective roles of the institutions has recently been agreed.

The Bank is introducing a new Structural Policy Review (SPR) to input into Country Assistance Strategies. SPRs will be the structural policy equivalent of the Public Expenditure Review. They will be joint Bank-government documents but it is not clear whether they will be made public.