Monday, December 17, 2007

World Bank Woes

According to Christian Aid the World Bank risks doing more harm than good, if it is allowed to continue attaching harmful economic conditions to its development loans.

At issue is the Bank's practice of requiring countries to modify their economic policies in exchange for loans and debt relief. These changes often benefit European and US investors much more than the people living in developing countries.

The European Network on Debt and Development (a network of 51 non-governmental organisations from 16 European countries ) has found that more than two thirds of International Development Association loans and grants (71%) remain conditional on economic reforms that can adversely affect the poor.

Olivia McDonald, Christian Aid's World Bank expert, said: "European governments should not be taken in by the Bank's assurances that the imposition of harmful economic conditions has stopped. Using the Bank's own figures we've found that the evidence quite clearly states the opposite. And stories from poor communities around the world demonstrate the continued impoverishment that dictating inappropriate economic policies to poor countries causes."

Christian Aid calls on the UK government to withhold funds until the Bank stops demanding that recipient countries implement economic reforms such as privatisation and trade liberalisation.

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