These meetings are being held in an African country for the first time in 50 years. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is heading to Morocco to attend the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank next week, sending a strong message about the significant development in U.S.-Moroccan relations in recent years and Washington’s efforts to support Rabat politically and economically, despite the challenges posed by the aftermath of the Al Haouz earthquake.
The visit also aims to reaffirm the priorities of the United States, including increasing funding for both institutions, amidst the political turmoil currently occurring in the U.S. Congress. The U.S. Treasury Department stated today that Yellen will work during the meetings in Marrakech to promote reforms at the World Bank and other multilateral development banks launched a year ago to expand their missions beyond poverty reduction, aiming to help combat climate change and other global challenges.
The United States is strongly participating in these meetings, based on confidence in Morocco’s ability to host these events despite the challenges posed by the aftermath of the Al Haouz earthquake, marking the first time these meetings are being held in an African country in 50 years. Morocco represents an important ally for the United States in Africa.
The decision to hold the meetings in Marrakech received significant American support, as relations between the two countries have reached their peak in various fields, including the military with the organization of African Lion exercises.
U.S.-Moroccan relations have evolved since Washington announced its support for the autonomy project related to the Moroccan Sahara, following Rabat’s signing of a peace agreement with Tel Aviv under the auspices of former U.S. President Donald Trump‘s administration in December 2020.
The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, commended Morocco’s capabilities in organizing the meetings and praised the generosity and solidarity of Moroccans following the earthquake.
Yellen will also press member countries of the International Monetary Fund to contribute to increasing lending resources on a quota basis, without any changes to the contribution structure that would give greater weight to large emerging markets like China, India, and Brazil.
A U.S. Treasury official also mentioned that Yellen will urge countries and institutions participating in the meetings to provide the financing Ukraine needs to counter the Russian invasion. However, Yellen’s trip, during which she will stop in Luxembourg to attend the Eurogroup meeting of finance ministers on October 16, comes after a U.S. funding crisis that saw Congress narrowly avoid a federal government shutdown by passing temporary funding that did not include the required funds for Ukraine.
The staunch Republican opposition in Congress led to the unprecedented removal of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Efforts to find an alternative to McCarthy may delay permanent spending increases and other legislation.
Democratic Representative from Illinois, Nikki Budzinski, expressed concern about the perception of “instability and chaos” domestically at a time when Yellen is working abroad to advance U.S. interests. Budzinski said, “I think everyone on the global stage is watching. America leads, and that does not go unnoticed.” Responding to a question about whether Yellen would meet with Chinese officials in Marrakech, the Treasury official declined to comment on her bilateral meeting schedule.