On 23 September, ministers from the G24 group of developing countries at the BWIs met to discuss the global economy, debt relief and the strategic roles of the Bank and Fund. Highlights include:
- G24 urges the IMF and the World Bank to “facilitate the HIPC process by placing more weight on country-specific circumstances and further streamline conditionality”.
- Extend the G8 debt deal to all low-income countries, ensure that debt relief funds are additional to development aid, and “avoid additional conditionality apart from IDA-14 eligibility criteria that have already been approved.”
IMF strategic roles
- The G24 urges “more candid and effective surveillance” over rich countries.
- The IMF should support countercyclical policies.
- Urge a “cautious approach” to capital account liberalisation.
- More resources are needed for the IMF under the next review of quotas.
World Bank strategic roles
The G24 called on the World Bank to “review its medium-term strategy in light of the findings of the 2004 Annual Review of Development Effectiveness”. They urged the “reassessment of World Bank country business models and global programmes that are not yet fully aligned with poverty reduction goals and progress toward the MDGs.”
Policy support for low-income countries
The PRGF shocks facility was welcomed, but ministers underscored the importance of streamlining conditionality.
How can the IMF preach transparency and accountability to poor countries when they behave like this?
Ministers urged the IMF and the World Bank to continue to “evaluate and widely publicize” the impact of rich country trade policies.
Representation of developing countries
Ministers called for “a new quota formula to reflect more accurately the relative economic size of developing countries in the world economy, taking into account purchasing power parity”. Ministers also urged a “substantial increase in developing countries’ basic votes to at least restore their relative importance to what it was at the inception of the IMF” and called on the IMF and the World Bank to “ensure that developing countries are adequately represented on the staff of the two institutions, both in number and in key positions.”
Parliamentarians participation blocked by IMF staff
Parliamentarians from Ghana and Indonesia, Hon Mohammed Jagri and Hon Dradjad Wibowo, attended the G24 meeting to raise the issues embodied in the International Parliamentarians’ Petition on scrutiny of IFI agreements. After sitting down in the observers’ chairs, the MPs were asked to leave by the IMF’s parliamentary liaision officer. The MPs were able to contact the G24 secretariat from outside the meeting room, whereupon a representative of the G24 escorted the two back into the meeting. However, the MPs had missed their opportunity to present the petition to the heads of the Bank and Fund who had left the meeting by the time they were let back in.
Hon. Mohammed Jagri MP (Ghana) said, “It should beggar belief for the IMF to throw MPs out of a poor country ministers’ meeting to stop them presenting a petition calling for democratic accountability of the IMF itself. In fact this is just one more demonstration of how the IMF actively undermines democracy in poor countries, by riding roughshod over governments, parliaments and the people they represent. How can the IMF preach transparency and accountability to poor countries when they behave like this?”