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Center of Andorra la Vella, capital of Andorra. On October 16, 2020, Andorra became the 190th member of the IMF. (Photo: minemero / iStock)

Andorra: five things you might not know about the 190th IMF member

Ana Lariau and Jenny Lee, IMF’s European Department

October 16, 2020

Today, the IMF welcomes the Principality of Andorra, which therefore becomes its 190th member. Andorra, a micro-state landlocked between France and Spain, joined the IMF when Elisenda Vives Balmaña, Ambassador of Andorra to the United States, Canada and Mexico and Permanent Representative of Andorra to the United Nations, signed the Articles of Agreement of the IMF at a ceremony in Washington.

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Andorra has deposited its application to join the IMF in January 2020. The procedure, one of the steps of which was to collect economic information for the purpose of calculating Andorra’s quota, was implemented virtually due to travel restrictions linked to COVID-19. Several IMF departments collaborated to this end, in particular the Europe department, the finance department, the legal department, the secretariat department and the statistics department.

Benefits associated with membership

Being a member allows the country to benefit from the advice of the IMF, which is particularly useful at this time, as the country is in the grip of the crisis of COVID ‑ 19 and formulates policies to ensure sustainable recovery. Above all, the country can now benefit from a annual review or “health check” of its economy provided by the IMF, request a technical assistance and have recourse to ready IMF, as needed.

Now Andorra can also attend as a full member the spring meetings and annual assemblies of the IMF and the World Bank, where representatives from all over the world meet and discuss the state of the world economy.

Five things to know

Andorra is very small, but it is the largest microstate in Europe. At 468 square kilometers, Andorra is about two-thirds the size of the island city-state of Singapore. However, it is the largest of the six European micro-states, ahead of Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican.
The euro is the official currency of Andorra, but the country is not part of the euro zone or the European Union. The principality officially became a parliamentary democracy in May 1993, after the adoption of a new constitution by popular referendum. The head of government is the head of the executive, while the President of France and the Bishop of Urgell in Spain are the joint heads of state or “co-princes”. The country does not have its own currency or a central bank. Before the introduction of the euro, Andorra used the Spanish peseta and the French franc. Although it is not a member of the European Union, Andorra is currently negotiating an association agreement with it to gain access to its internal market.
The main economic sectors in Andorra are tourism, commerce and banking. This landlocked country located in the Pyrenees Mountains, which was once a land of agriculture and livestock, became a regional financial center in the 1950s, and a tourist destination more recently. Today, trade and tourism account for almost 40% of the economy and the financial sector 20%. In 2019, Andorra welcomed more than 8 million visitors, mainly from Spain and France for its famous ski and mountain bike trails.
About half of Andorran parliamentarians are women, compared to less than a quarter globally. In this country of 77,000 inhabitants, nearly 47% of parliamentarians, including the Syndic General and the Deputy Syndic General, are women. In addition, parity is absolute among ministers, without this being imposed by a quota system or by law.
Andorra is committed to ensuring environmental sustainability. The country has increased its renewable energy production fivefold since 2016. Although its efforts are now focused on transport and heating, which are the country’s main sources of emissions, the government has also set long-term goals. to reduce energy dependence and increase the production of renewable energies by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

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