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This brief on the IMF is one of a suite of policy briefs that provides basic background information and practical analysis of the financial and governance issues facing the international financial institutions.
This brief provides an overview of the IMF's structure, membership, governance, and lending operations. The primary role of the International Monetary Fund is to promote stability of the international monetary system, the system of exchange rates and international payments that enables countries to transact with one another. To do so, the IMF provides financial assistance in the form of loans to help member countries address balance-of-payments problems,stabilize their economies, and restore sustainable economic growth. The IMF also carries out technical assistance and surveillance activities that help strengthen underlying economic fundamentals of member countries and the global financial systems at large.