The international monetary fund or IMF is an agency consisting of multiple member states that aims to ensure the stability of payments and exchange rates within the international economy.
The IMF was founded in 1945 and has grown to have 188 different countries as affiliates.
Its main role is to act as both a lender and adviser to countries that are suffering from economic difficulty. Member states of the fund provide contributions to a pool of funds that can be used to provide loans to struggling economies. These loans are often provided on the proviso that certain actions will be taken and met by the country receiving the loan.
Actions required by borrowers include changes to budget and tax policies.
The logic behind the IMF is that those contributing members help to ensure stability within the international economy that in turn provides a positive knock-on effect to all member states within the IMF. Although those critical of the IMF usually point towards the influence of the Western nations as a negative.