(Reuters) - World leaders were set to arrive in Washington on Friday for a summit that was called by U.S. President George W. Bush that is to be devoted partly to an overhaul of global financial institutions.
Here are some details on the global financial institutions:
* GROUP OF SEVEN (G7):
-- The G7 is a forum of the leading industrialized democracies: Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Japan, the United States and Canada. The first G7 annual summit in France in 1975 was called to settle a dispute over currencies, but meetings were soon expanded to discuss broad economic policy matters. Separately, G7 finance ministers and central bankers meet four times a year. In recent years, China and Russia have joined some segments of the G7 meetings.
* GROUP OF EIGHT (G8):
-- The G7 leaders meeting was expanded in 1998 to include Russia. Its agenda has widened from macroeconomic management to include international trade, relations with developing countries, energy, and terrorism.
* GROUP OF TWENTY (G20):
-- The Group of Twenty first met in Berlin in December 1999. It was created as a response to the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98, which exposed that emerging market nations were not adequately included in the core of global economic discussion and governance.
-- Its 19 members are - Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The European Union is also a member, represented by the rotating Council presidency and the European Central Bank. G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meet annually.
* THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF):
-- One of the two international financial institutions formed at the Bretton Woods conference in 1944, the IMF began operations in 1946. Its purpose is the surveillance of economic and financial developments, lending to countries with balance of payments difficulties, supporting policies aimed at correcting the underlying problems, and advice.
* THE WORLD BANK:
-- The second Bretton Woods institution, the World Bank officially began operations in June 1946. Its first loans were geared toward the post-war reconstruction of Western Europe. While it has played a major role in financing investments in infrastructure projects in developing countries, its primary mission is to work with developing countries to alleviate poverty.
* THE BANK FOR INTERNATIONAL SETTLEMENTS (BIS):
-- The BIS is an international organization aimed at fostering international monetary and financial cooperation. It also serves as a bank for central banks.
-- Established in 1930, the BIS is the world’s oldest international financial organization. It describes itself as a forum to promote discussion and policy analysis among central banks and within the international financial community.
Sources: Reuters; IMF; World Bank; www.brettonwoodsproject.org; britannica.com; financialsense.com; G20; www.bis.org
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