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The World’s Most Powerful Economic Policymakers are in Africa  

The International Monetary Fund and World Bank are holding their annual meetings in Africa for the first time in 50 years as they face a growing chorus of criticism that poorer nations are underrepresented at the two institutions. Both have recently said they plan to give Africa additional seats on their executive boards. The conference theme was clear Monday during the gathering in Marrakech, although definitive details had yet to be discussed. Often lenders of last resort, the IMF and the World Bank use billions in loans and assistance to buoy struggling economies and encourage countries operating in deficit to implement reforms they say promote stability and growth. But critics — including officials from throughout Africa — have said policies that deny economies access to credit and loans in the absence of balanced budgets often require governments to make impossible choices, including tax reform or making cuts to subsidies for food or energy.