By Andrea Shalal
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – International Monetary Fund members are calling more strongly for an end to the war in Ukraine, which is having a sharply negative impact on global economic growth, Spanish Finance Minister Nadia Calvino told Reuters on Thursday.
Calvino, elected in January to head the IMF’s steering committee, said this week’s annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank were marked by deep uncertainty about the war, which she said symbolized a “tectonic shift” in the principles that have guided the global world order since the end of World War Two.
“The most dominant feeling is one of worry and uncertainty. We don’t know how long this war will last (and) what the implications may be,” Calvino said, citing the global repercussions of war-related surges in food and energy prices.
Calvino said IMF member countries were increasingly concerned given the duration of the war and its impact on inflation, which has triggered sharp tightening of monetary policy in countries around the world.
“There is a sense (that) this is serious, we need to work together,” she said. “And of course, I think the language has become tougher on Russia to stop the war because of the suffering that is going to hit mostly most vulnerable countries, poorer parts of our societies.”Calvino said the global nature of the overlapping challenges facing the world was a “wakeup call” about the importance of international institutions like the IMF.
She was optimistic that the global lender was up to the task despite frustration voiced by some African leaders that the Ukraine war has diminished focus on crises facing poorer nations, and cited the creation of new lending instruments such as food shock window set up to help countries hit hard by war-related shocks.
“Right now, we’re very much focused on dealing with the urgent needs. That’s putting up reinsurance mechanisms, financial support mechanisms, debt relief mechanisms to protect the financial stability of the whole world,” she said.
She said Group of Seven rich countries also met on Wednesday with African finance ministers to address their specific concerns and to find ways to best support their populations.
“That was a very necessary and a very good dialogue we had,” she said, adding that the impact of the war in Ukraine was magnified because it reflected a significant shift in the world order. “In my view, this should reinforce our multilateral commitment and our ability to coordinate our policies and to work together, of course.”
Quota reform, another key demand of IMF critics and activists, would be addressed later, she said.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Paul Simao)