A new book by two researchers at the University of Oslo describes the structure and decision-making processes of multilateral institutions. Covering the World Bank, regional banks, IMF, WTO and UNDP, they analyse how major donor governments, and increasingly NGOs, determine their directions. They also describe specific cases such as the Arun III dam, Nepal and the Samut Prakarn project, Thailand. They are very critical, but conclude: “with all their faults the World Bank and other multilateral institutions are a potential bulwark against the unilateral actions of a single powerful country”.
In prioritising capital market expansion, the needs of the lowest income groups are not being effectively addressed through World Bank interventions.
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