Page last updated at 02:02 GMT, Sunday, 26 April 2009 03:02 UK

Finance chiefs urge bank reform

IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, right, Egyptian Finance Minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali (left) in Washington DC (25/04/2009)
Mr Strauss-Kahn send countries now agree on stimulus measures

Finance ministers from both wealthy and developing nations have called for an urgent reform of banking systems in developed countries.

A meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington said such measures were needed for global economic recovery.

The head of the IMF said progress had been made but it had been too slow.

The meeting also heard calls for more help for African countries feeling the effects of the global crisis.

Tanzania's finance minister said the slump threatened to wipe out his country's previous gains and that rich countries should use part of their stimulus resources to help poorer ones.

IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said no one at the meeting had challenged the view that reform was needed.

"I think everybody again agrees that we need to do it now and that recovery is heavily relying on that," he said.

Mr Strauss-Kahn said all the ministers present would "go back committed to speeding up the process" of such reforms.

Egyptian Finance Minister Yousef Boutros-Ghali, who chaired the meeting, said the global economy had "serious problems" but that things were "beginning to look up".

"Carefully, cautiously we can say there is a break in the clouds," he said.

Developing support

World Bank President Robert Zoellick in Washington DC (23/04/2009)
Mr Zoellick said bail outs must offer support to poorer countries

The communique from the meeting also called on the IMF to assess actions which have been taken.

The BBC's Andrew Walker in Washington says this means that Mr Strauss-Kahn is more likely to speak out if he feels that the efforts to fix the banks are still lagging.

Earlier, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the IMF needed urgently to be overhauled to give emerging economies such as China a greater say in how it is run.

Analysts say such a move could lead to China putting much more money into the fund.

Meanwhile the World Bank has announced a $55bn (£37.4bn) stimulus programme for poorer countries.

It says the infrastructure investment programme is part of efforts to help developing countries weather the global slump.

"It is vitally important that economic stimulus packages in the developed world are accompanied by support to those that cannot afford multi-billion [dollar] bailouts," World Bank president Robert Zoellick said in a statement.


World leaders signed a deal to tackle the crisis with measures worth $1 trillion (£681bn) on 2 April.

At the London meeting three weeks ago, the G20 agreed to triple the resources available to the IMF to $750bn.

That included a $500bn emergency lending facility, with the European Union (EU), Japan and the US each pledging $100bn towards it.

However, the World Bank has accused the US, the EU and other G20 members of going against one of the pledges made at the summit.

It has named several countries it says have carried out protectionist measures, despite the G20 agreeing cuts to trade barriers.

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