The primary purpose of the International Monetary Fund is to oversee the international monetary and financial systems to ensure their stability. The IMF monitors the global system of exchange rates and international payments that allow countries to do business with one another.
As of 2015, the International Monetary Fund consists of 188 member nations and provides policy advice, financial assistance and technical expertise to its members. The IMF collects global economic data through its monitoring duties, provides a forum for discussion and resolution of economic problems, and offers advice to both governments and central banks. Further, the IMF works with its member countries to promote economic growth, monetary cooperation and international trade. Through supporting each member nation's economic prosperity and policies that raise living standards, the IMF also strives to alleviate poverty.
The International Monetary Fund was formed near the end of World War II in direct response to the Great
Depression of the 1930s and the global conflict that followed. The IMF's initial goal was to promote international monetary cooperation in order to prevent another global depression. The IMF is financed by its member nations through quotas based on each country's relative economic prosperity, and it is responsible directly to the governments of each member nation. To communicate its findings, the IMF publishes reports detailing individual country economic conditions as well as global economic and financial sector analyses.