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State Presidents protest to IMF

The President of Malawi, Bingu wa'Mutharika as well as the Presidents of Uganda and Kenya, Yoweri Museveni and Mwai Kibaki have suggested to the head of the International Monetary Fund that his organisation had been dishonest by refusing to take blame for failures. They protested IMF inflexibility - and told IMF managing director Mr Rodrigo de Rato that IMF staff should behave 'responsibly' while making statements about developing countries.

The presidents, joined by ministers from Rwanda and Burundi, expressed their critique during a regional IMF Summit. "Given the impact of IMF country assessment on the views of markets and the development partners, it's critical that all Fund staff should be careful and responsible in the way they pronounce themselves on country performance. Where there are differences of view, the IMF should not seek to isolate countries from development partners and investors," they said.

"We also noted that when programmes fail or do not work out as expected, countries have, in the past, taken all the blame. However, the IMF, of course, also makes mistakes. We welcome moves to greater openness about such mistakes... Recognition that neither side is infallible will help us design stronger programmes." The presidents also suggested they had told De Rato that they were tired of being dictated upon. "We raised the issue of African countries participating more in the design of economic programmes that are supported by the IMF," they said. The presidents also requested IMF to help them with their domestic debts. (The Monitor, Kampala)

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