In June the World Bank Administrative Tribunal, an internal justice body that oversees the treatment of employees, ordered the Bank to reinstate a former staff member, John Kim, who was fired in 2007 for telling a journalist about conflicts between former Bank president Paul Wolfowitz and the Bank's board of directors.
The crisis-hit government of Swaziland agreed a 2.4 billion rand ($324 million) loan from South Africa in August, which will be conditioned on the adoption of IMF-recommended fiscal reforms.
The Bank's Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) released its annual report at end August, again finding shortfalls and uneven results across the World Bank Group. While the Bank's leadership has steered the institution towards more private sector work, outcomes in the education sector and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have dropped substantially.
A critical analysis of the World Bank's new strategy for Africa
Civil society groups have challenged Bank plans to rush through a new lending instrument, Program-for-Results, that would mean safeguards or equivalent standards no longer apply to a major portion of Bank lending. Meanwhile, a secretive review could strip the Bank's accountability bodies of their independence and safeguards could be scaled back for projects deemed "low risk".
In March, the World Bank launched its new Africa strategy, outlining three main areas in which it will focus its operations: competitiveness and employment, vulnerability and resilience of citizens, and governance and public sector capacity.
Ghana's Supreme Court ruled in January that the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Bank's private sector lending arm, is not immune from legal action in the country.
The World Bank and the IMF formally recognise tax avoidance and evasion as a critical problem for developing countries' domestic resource mobilisation. The Bank's public position on tax evasion and tax havens does not however identify concrete measures to stop investing in companies practicing tax avoidance. The IMF addresses tax policy under its surveillance mandate and in its technical assistance, but does not have an explicit framework to deal with tax evasion.
On November 22nd 2010, CounterBalance and the Bretton Woods Project hosted a conference in London on "The Private Sector Turn" - the increasing shift from public to private funding in development finance, the forms it takes and what it means for activists and affected people. What follows is a summary of the day's proceedings.
Ongoing mining projects’ impacts on rights, gender and the environment suggest a new approach to the sector is needed, as the IMF and World Bank dole out contradictory advice on mining revenues.