The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is a Washington-based international organization which unites 188 countries.
Formed in 1944, the IMF works to spur global growth and economic stability by providing policy advice and financing to members, by working with developing nations to help them achieve macroeconomic stability, and by reducing poverty.
As defined on the organization's website, the IMF's aims are to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.
Member-states contribute funds to a pool through a quota system from which countries with payment imbalances can borrow. As of 2010, the fund had SDR476.8 billion, about US$755.7 billion at then-current exchange rates.
By means of the fund, statistics keeping and analysis, surveillance of its members' economies and the demand for self-correcting policies, the body intends to improve the economies of its member countries.
However, over the recent years the organization has been widely criticized mainly for conditions of its loans, as well as lack of accountability and willingness to lend to countries with bad human rights record.