The IMF: Change we can believe in? Notes of a civil society meeting in Istanbul. Speakers include Joseph Stiglitz, Andrew Kumbatira, Caroline Atkinson, and Bhumika Muchhala.
The IMF has launched a rebranding exercise for all of its lending to low-income countries, and while the new facilities will deliver more resources, the money seems destined to come with the usual damaging conditionality attached.
The allocation of special drawing rights to Zimbabwe have stirred controversy about whether the country should use these to bolster its flagging public finances, while the fragile coalition government struggles with an external debt burden projected by the IMF to hit almost $7 billion by the end of the year.
This briefing analyzes announcements made at the end of July by the IMF regarding the level of their financial commitments to low-income countries (LICs) and finds them wanting in relation to the size of new resources, the flexibility of conditionality, and the imrpovements needed to SDR allocations.
In April 2009, the G20 group of leaders committed $1.1 trillion to combat the financial crisis, with the bulk of this being channelled through the International Monetary Fund (IMF). However, this substantial amount of resources may never be provided, and if it is, may not have the intended positive effect on developing countries. Experience so far demonstrates that the IMF is still imposing damaging pro-cyclical conditions on some borrowers, and that the finance provided to low-income count
Reviews of World Bank development policy lending and poverty and social impact analysis leave questions as to the extent to which the Bank's budget support in developing countries targets pro-poor initiatives.
Notes of discussion at World Bank Civil Society Forum, 23 April 2009
Despite promising rhetoric, new IMF loans show no greater flexibility in fiscal and monetary policies because of the current crisis. The Fund is still pushing tighter fiscal policy and single-digit inflation.
In February the UN special rapporteur's report on housing was released, highlighting the impact of economic, financial and housing policies on the right to adequate housing and how such policies have contributed to the current crisis.
In January, Ghana Web, a daily news and resource site, issued a sharp attack on the World Bank and its country representative in Ghana demanding that the president expel the World Bank country director in Ghana from his post.