Finance officials representing over 150 countries are winding up two days of meetings Sunday at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington. The ministers are assessing poverty reduction strategies and the need for more support for the world's poorest countries.
The discussion is focusing on how much additional money should go to the poor countries and whether it should come in the form of grants or low-interest loans. The United States is leading a drive for more grants as well as increased accountability in how aid money is used.
Twenty-four finance ministers comprising the World Bank's Development Committee are also reviewing the bank's four-year-old debt relief program. There is disappointment that progress has been slow even though over 20 countries have now had most of their debts reduced. The bank meanwhile is warning that progress in poverty reduction is uneven and that some poor countries in Africa are falling even further behind.
The finance ministers are generally encouraged that world economic performance is improving but they worry about the impact of rising oil prices.