Global food crisis, Bank and IMF respond
While discussions of the World Bank’s new role in the “business” of climate change (see New Publications), the IMF’s new deal on quota reform (see JUST THE FACTS) and financial market turmoil looked set to top the agenda at the Bank and IMF’s Spring Meetings, it was mounting concern over the global food crisis that dominated discussions.
Global food crisis, Bank and IMF respond
Innovative financing for development gets boost
As the World Bank, IMF and World Trade Organization are set to discuss innovative financing at their bi-annual High-Level meeting at the UN next month, and UN representatives address the issue in their review of Chapter IV of the Monterrey Consensus days later (see IU January 2008), innovative finance has gotten a series of unexpected boosts from various sides.
The changing face of global development finance
In 2007 Brazil’s Development Bank issued loans worth more than double the entire World Bank portfolio. More than half of the increase in aid since 2002 comes from debt relief, rather than new funding commitments. What’s more, from 1995-2005, Africa saw no net increase in its development aid despite a 35% increase in commitments to global aid over that period. In 2007, China financed more infrastructure projects in Africa than all multilateral and bilateral donors combined. The Gates Foundation provides more funding for neglected developing country diseases than all of the Group of Seven. These were some of the facts that emerged at an HI conference on “The Changing Face of Global Development Finance - Impacts and implications for aid, development, the South and the Bretton Woods Institutions.”
Corruption back on the Bank’s agenda?
Evidence of serious fraud and corruption has emerged in five Bank-funded health projects in Orissa, India. The $570 million for malaria, tuberculosis and HIV-AIDS control was implemented from 1997 to 2003. The charges emerged from a Detailed Implementation Review (DIR) of projects in India begun in 2006, a process itself triggered by evidence of corrupt practices by two pharmaceutical companies involved in another Bank health scheme. The Indian government has pledged to take “exemplary punishment” of the parties involved.
Increased donor funding boosts Bank, ignores bad policies
A record US$25.1 billion was pledged by donors to the World Bank’s low-interest loan and grant facility, the International Development Association (IDA), as discussions on IDA’s 15th replenishment drew to a close in Berlin. With $16.5 billion pledged by the Bank itself, the full replenishment stands at $41.6 billion, up 30 per cent from the $31 billion in the previous round. The latest replenishment covers July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2011.
MPs, CSOs demand government response to Consensus Report on Extractives
Earlier editions of this publication reported on the National Roundtables on Corporate Social Responsibility and the Canadian Extractive Industry in Developing Countries (See IU Vol. I No 10; Vol. II Nos 6, 9, 11; Vol. III, Nos 3 and 6). The cross-country consultation process was a constructive, multi-stakeholder dialogue on the overseas operations of Canadian oil, gas and mining companies. Remarkably, it culminated with the release of a consensus-based action plan for the Canadian government to improve the accountability of Canadian extractive companies overseas. The plan, which is outlined in the Advisory Group Final Report, was endorsed by participating representatives from industry, civil society and academia. That was in March. Eight months later, there is still no response from the federal government.
World Bank’s long term strategy – business as usual?
100 days into his term, World Bank President Bob Zoellick has outlined his vision for an inclusive and sustainable globalization that seeks to “overcome poverty [and] enhance growth with care for the environment”. Importantly, it also seeks to better integrate the activities of the World Bank Group (WBG) and build a more financially robust and flexible institution. And it occurs at a time when the Bank is desperate to recapture new borrowers and build new markets in an environment that has a wealth of new sources of development finance.
People’s Tribunal Examines World Bank Influence in India
Over sixty social movements, unions, academics, and local NGOs gathered for four days in New Delhi to examine how decades of World Bank policies and projects have affected the country’s economic and social landscape. Testimony, evidence, and research were heard by a 15 member jury of prominent activists, community leaders, retired justices, and academics in an effort to comprehensively assess the costs and benefits of World Bank assistance.
Wolfowitz Swept “Climate Change” Under the Rug at Bank
Documents released by the Government Accountability Project (GAP) reveal that Paul Wolfowitz, then World Bank President, personally intervened to remove the emphasis on climate change from a 2006 Bank report requested by the G8. The original report, entitled “Climate Change, Energy and Sustainable Development: Towards an Investment Framework” and endorsed by Bank vice-presidents, was later changed to “Clean Energy and Development: Towards an Investment Framework”.
Selecting a New IMF Director: Another One-Man Race?
Following the recent, controversial appointment of World Bank President Robert Zoellick - who was hand-picked by the US, despite calls for a more democratic selection process - all eyes are on the International Monetary Fund as it prepares to select a new Managing Director in September. At this early stage, US and EU support for the candidacy of former French Finance Minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn reveals their intent to preserve a selection process that all but guarantees the appointment of a European to the top post.