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Integrity in IMF COVID-19 financing: Did countries deliver on their procurement & beneficial ownership transparency commitments?

As economic crises followed the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the early months of 2020, many governments appealed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for financial support. The IMF released funds under emergency financing instruments like the Rapid Credit Facility. These involved only limited conditionality.

Governments were asked to make commitments to a range of policies and safeguards before disbursement. These commitments included plans to introduce elements of procurement and beneficial ownership transparency.

Between January and March 2021, Oxford Insights conducted research for Open Contracting Partnership and Open Ownership to ask:

  • How ambitious were countries’ commitments on procurement transparency and bene cial ownership?
  • How thoroughly were those commitments implemented?
  • What can the IMF do to support better implementation now and to improve the process in the future?

While our findings largely focus on the IMF’s approach and govern- mental responses during the pandemic, many of our recommendations have a significance beyond emergency financing agreements. We hope that they will inform the IMF’s practices across all its negotiations and funding packages in future.