Most of the heavy lifting was done yesterday at the spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde announced a near doubling of the Fund’s lending capacity from pledges totaling more than $430 billion from member states.
The aim was to have more firepower available to deal with any new problems that might develop out of Europe’s prolonged debt crisis. This was the Fund’s main goal at these meeting.
But the goal was met only with the help of nonspecific pledges to contribute by several emerging market nations, including China and Brazil. They’re pushing the IMF’s advanced economies — read the U.S. and Europe — to follow through on their promise to give emerging market nations more voting power in the Fund to match their growing economic power.
Not specifying how much they might contribute gives the emerging nations some needed leverage. It’s a bit of a diplomatic dance that is no doubt continuing today during the official meetings and on the sidelines of these meetings.
The emerging markets are not likely to officially specify the size of their contributions until at least the summit of G-20 leaders June. By then they hope to have made more progress in achieving what they believe is their rightful role at the IMF.