A major new Bank study claims that ethnic tensions and political feuds are rarely the primary causes of civil wars. Economic forces such as entrenched poverty and heavy dependence on natural resource exports are instead to blame. The report urges improved transparency of natural resource revenues, tracking of commodities and ways to cushion the impacts of commodity price collapses. Joe Hanlon, author of Peace Versus Profit, How the IMF Blocks Peace-Building in Mozambique, commented: “The report implicitly admits that policies of the IFIs in the past probably fuelled civil wars – will the World Bank actually change its policies in response?”
The IMF and the World Bank are increasingly engaged with the challenge of addressing how tax avoidance and evasion affect developing countries, but need to address the role played by multinational enterprises and tax havens in exacerbating inequality and undermining countries’ domestic revenues.
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