Knowledge Bank’s Power In South Africa

14 June 2000

A new book on South Africa includes fascinating material on the World Bank’s role as policy advocate for the post-apartheid era. Author Patrick Bond examines the Bank’s strategies of co-option and persuasion of key think tanks, foundations and government officials. He concludes that, although the Bank has hardly made any loans to post-apartheid South Africa: “World Bank advisory teams made a huge impact on social and economic policy”.

The Bank’s strategies included training “hundreds” of South Africans by the Economic Development Institute, funding consultancies from key think tanks and the publication of policy advice using economic models which “served merely as capricious, erratic tools of political expediency”.

Elite Transition: from Apartheid to Neoliberalism in South Africa, is published by Pluto Press and University of Natal Press.