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General Agreements to Borrow (GAB)


The General Agreements to Borrow (GAB) is a financial agreement established in 1962 among a group of major industrialized countries to provide additional monetary support to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The purpose of GAB is to facilitate supplementary financial resources for IMF member countries experiencing balance of payment problems, thus ensuring global economic stability. Over time, GAB has been superseded by the New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB), a more extensive borrowing framework.


The phonetics of “General Agreements to Borrow (GAB)” are:General: /ˈdʒɛnərəl/Agreements: /əˈɡriːmənts/to: /tuː/Borrow: /ˈbɒrəʊ/GAB: /ɡæb/

Key Takeaways

  1. The General Agreements to Borrow (GAB) is an International Monetary Fund (IMF) borrowing arrangement established to provide additional financial resources to IMF member countries facing a balance of payment crisis.
  2. Established in 1962, GAB was originally composed of ten industrialized countries, including the United States, Japan, and several European nations. These countries acted as potential lenders, contributing to a shared pool of resources that the IMF could draw upon in times of need.
  3. In 1998, GAB was supplemented by an additional borrowing arrangement known as the New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB). NAB has a larger and more diverse group of member countries and provides a greater amount of financial resources compared to GAB. Since the activation of NAB, GAB has only been used once.


The General Agreements to Borrow (GAB) is an essential financial term that holds significant importance in global finance and international relations. Established in 1962, GAB acts as a financial safety net for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by providing supplementary resources to address potential balance of payment problems faced by its member countries. Comprising 11 advanced economies, GAB ensures financial stability and contributes to the effective functioning of the global economy. In times of crisis, this framework enables swift and coordinated action among lender countries, thereby reinforcing the credibility and effectiveness of the IMF as a lender of last resort. In summary, GAB has been and remains a vital tool to maintain global economic stability, trust, and cooperation amongst nations.


The General Agreements to Borrow (GAB) serves as a tool to ensure the stability of the international monetary system by supporting the resources of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in times of extraordinary need. Established in 1962, the GAB provides supplementary financial assistance to member countries facing balance of payments issues that can pose potential threats to the stability of the global economy. As an agreement among a particular group of wealthy industrial nations, GAB has a purpose to complement the IMF’s usual resources and to collectively manage financial crises that may arise on a global scale. One of the primary uses of GAB is in crisis management through financial assistance to member countries. Borrowing under the GAB framework is facilitated through consultations between the borrowing country, the IMF, and the creditor countries. Loan decisions under GAB are made by a majority of creditor countries, who participate in financial arrangements, ensuring that the provided resources are utilized effectively to address balance of payments problems. Furthermore, GAB has played a significant role in the past, like during the international financial crisis of the 1970s and 1980s. In recent times, however, the establishment of additional safeguard measures by the IMF, such as the New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB), has limited the actual activation of GAB. Although not frequently utilized, GAB remains available as a safety net for international financial stability, reflecting the cooperative spirit among member countries in handling potential global economic crises.


The General Agreements to Borrow (GAB) is a finance term referring to an arrangement created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to provide additional resources for borrowing in case of financial crisis or emergencies. The agreement was initially established in 1962 and has undergone subsequent renewals and expansions. Here are three real-world examples involving the GAB: 1. In 1964, the United Kingdom requested financial support from the International Monetary Fund to address their balance of payment issues. Under the GAB, they were able to borrow resources from the participating member countries, which helped to stabilize their economic situation. 2. In 1977, Italy faced an economic crisis due to a high budget deficit and soaring inflation. The Italian government turned to the IMF for assistance, and under the GAB, they received substantial financial support. This aid helped Italy implement crucial economic reforms and restore its financial stability. 3. The GAB was expanded in 1983, following the Latin American debt crisis, to provide extra resources for the IMF to assist member countries in crisis situations. This expansion, known as the “GAB enlargement,” increased the total amount of resources available for borrowing under the GAB from about $6.9 billion to $21 billion. Although the GAB has rarely been activated in practice, its existence has played an essential role in promoting global financial stability by serving as a safety net for countries facing economic difficulties.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the General Agreements to Borrow (GAB)?
The General Agreements to Borrow (GAB) is an agreement established in 1962 by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and a group of industrialized countries to provide additional resources to the IMF. These resources are intended to help member countries facing potential balance of payments crises that could not be tackled using the usual IMF financing arrangements.
How does the GAB work?
Under the GAB, the participating countries commit to providing financial support to the IMF when necessary. The IMF can call on these nations to lend it funds, which are then extended to member countries facing financial difficulties. The GAB is designed to supplement the IMF’s regular lending capacity and serve as a last resort when other means of financial assistance have been exhausted.
Which countries are participating in the GAB?
The GAB involves lending commitments from 11 industrialized countries, including the United States, Japan, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland.
How much funding is available under the GAB?
The total lending capacity of the GAB is currently set at approximately USD 24 billion, based on the credit commitments of the participating countries.
How often has the GAB been utilized?
The GAB has been activated infrequently since its creation, with instances in 1964, 1977, and 1998. It serves as a safety net, providing additional reassurance to financial markets during periods of international economic instability.
What is the relationship between the GAB and the New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB)?
The New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB), established in 1998, is a more extensive lending framework than the GAB. The NAB includes more participant countries and has a larger lending capacity. The GAB has been integrated into the NAB, so the two lending mechanisms now work together to enhance the overall lending resources of the IMF.
How can a country access GAB funding?
If a member country faces a financial crisis which cannot be addressed by the IMF’s regular financing mechanisms, the country can request GAB funding. However, the decision to activate the GAB resources rests with the participating GAB countries and requires their approval.
Does the GAB impose specific conditions on borrowing countries?
Yes, similar to the standard IMF lending operations, the GAB lending also requires the borrowing countries to implement policy reforms and adjustment measures. This is aimed at helping the country restore its economic stability and achieve a sustainable balance of payments situation.

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