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Shaukat Aziz: The IMF must come to the fore in countries’ time of need

As Pakistan finalises a $7.6 billion bailout from the IMF, the country’s former prime minister says leadership and wisdom is required to help the globalized financial markets survive the financial crisis.

The foundations of the global financial system have been shaken and we are going through a very challenging period, facing a crisis of confidence with reduced liquidity, capital and debt availability. The world has globalized and inter-linkages, dependencies and connectivity have increased exponentially.

When the crisis arrived, many argued that decoupling would occur and there would be no contagion. Nothing is farther from the truth: no country or market is an island. All stakeholders will be hit. As the dynamics of each market are different, the extent of the impact will vary but no one can completely escape this tidal wave.

We must examine why we arrived at such a situation and what lessons we can learn. Can we prevent such events from reoccurring? A few years ago, things were healthy: rising asset values, strong global growth, buzzing markets abundant capital flows and plentiful liquidity. Globalization, deregulation and liberalization were actively promoted to accelerate growth and prosperity. A market system is the right way but this requires a change in mindset by all stakeholders. Policymakers, regulators, financial institutions, companies and individuals must all adjust. Yesterday's approach will not get us where we want to go.

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