This is Steve Emberwith the VOA Special English program, In the News.
A team from the International Monetary Fund completed a two-dayvisit to Argentina this week. The financial experts were there toexamine the country's economic crisis and how the new government isdealing with it.
Argentina owes other countries more thanone-hundred-forty-thousand-million dollars. The country is in thefourth year of a recession. It has an eighteen percent unemploymentrate. The economic troubles have led to a political crisis andviolent protests in Argentina.
The Argentine Economy Minister, Jorge Remes Lenicov, said thegovernment is seeking as much as twenty-thousand-million dollars innew aid. He said Argentine officials would negotiate with the I-M-Fto re-structure the country's debt.
The International Monetary Fund was created in part to deal withproblems like this. In Nineteen-Forty-Five, twenty-nine countriessigned an agreement establishing the organization. They promised tocooperate on international financial issues and to help expandinternational trade.
The I-M-F also seeks to help countries pay their debts when theyare experiencing economic problems. In return, governments usuallymust take action that the I-M-F thinks will help solve the problems.
The I-M-F lends money under an "arrangement." The arrangementstates the conditions the country must meet in order to receive theloan. Officials of the country and the I-M-F develop the arrangementtogether. Then it is presented to the I-M-F Executive Board. TheBoard represents the I-M-F's one-hundred-eighty-three membercountries.
If the Board approves the arrangement, then the loan is releasedin a series of payments. I-M-F officials periodically re-considerthe loan. Loan payments continue as long as the country honors thearrangement.
The I-M-F has created a number of loan programs to deal withspecial situations among its members. The most common loan programis called a Stand-By Arrangement. It is for countries experiencingshort-term debt problems. Payments usually are made for twelve toeighteen months. Countries generally are expected to repay the loanwithin two to four years.
The I-M-F has another program for poor countries. The PovertyReduction and Growth Facility permits poor countries to borrow moneyat a very low rate of interest. All other I-M-F programs haveinterest rates linked to the open market. The Poverty Reduction andGrowth Facility also gives countries as long as ten years to re-payloans.
Many people around the world oppose the I-M-F. In recent years,thousands of demonstrators have protested outside meetings of theI-M-F and similar organizations. Many of these activists say I-M-Fpolicies make industrial nations richer and developing nationspoorer. They also say the organization's activities result in damageto the environment.
This VOA Special English program, In the News, was written byCaty Weaver. This is Steve Ember.