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IMF and the World Bank

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank are lending agencies, controlled by the "Group of 7" or G-7: United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, France, Canada, and Italy. The G-7 holds more than 40% of the votes on the boards of the World Bank and IMF and therefore controls their policies, imposing economic austerity policies on the so-called "Third World" or global South. Most countries there have external debts that preclude their ability to adequately deliver social services such as health care, education, and food security programs. They cannot get cash or credit from any other source except the Bank, IMF, and other similar international financial institutions, and must accept the conditions demanded of them such as Structural Adjustment Programs. Few of the countries borrowing from these institutions have emerged from their debt problems and most have incurred higher debts than when they first accepted IMF/World Bank "assistance."