Friday, February 20, 2009

Nigerian president says the IMF and World Bank are "impoverishing" Africa

Nothing like some controversy to start the morning with. But, these are comments that need to heard.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo says the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank has played a part in "impoverishing" millions of Africans. He claims that the organizations are doing this by not putting enough attention into debt forgiveness for African countries.

The story comes from All Africa as writer Judith Achieng attended a summit where Obasanjo made the comments.

"The question is begged:" Has the World Bank and IMF perhaps unwittingly made Africa poorer through unwholesome policies? "wondered Obasanjo.

He told the plenary session of the Social Summit that it was pointless for developed nations and international financial institutions to demand eradication of poverty and promotion of social justice if they failed to address the issue of external debt, and protectionism in the north, which are marginalising the world's poor .

"Developed countries must commit themselves to debt remission for developing countries, so as to provide these countries with the basis of economic renewal and social advancement," Obasanjo said .

Citing the latest World Bank report, which indicates that the heavy flow of aid to developing countries has done little to improve social development in the countries, Obasanjo, who also is president of the Group of 77 said, as a result of the discriminatory policies, some 48 African countries have a collective economic output that does not surpass that of Belgium .

The report, 'New Paths to Social Development : Community and Global Networks in Action' the World Bank notes that rich countries collectively spent $300 billion to subsidise and protect their markets against foreign competition, a figure which equals Africa's total annual output.

He said poor governments are constrained by policies of fiscal and budgetary austerity which were imposed on them by the international financial institutions, leaving them without resources to initiate job creating programmes that will lead to gainful employment for their youths," he said .

Sub-Saharan Africa whose population of 700 million people is most affected, he said, is suffering double jeopardy, first from the burden of debt which leaves them no resources for social renewal, and secondly, from the protectionist policies of the advanced countries against imports from developing countries .

'The world has a capacity to eradicate poverty, and this summit should give us the opportunity to reaffirm the commitments to give our peoples hope and assurance of enhanced quality of life," he said .

No comments: