In late August Colombian labour unions began an indefinite national strike in protest at the government’s political, social, and economic agenda and calling on the government to declare a moratorium on the payment of its internal and external debt.
In July, rising transport and fuel prices in Ecuador led to strikes and public protests, and an up-rising by thousands of indigenous people who are also concerned about privatisation plans.
Relations between the Bank and the government of Papua New Guinea were strained in July by the government’s decision to issue bonds to raise money from the private sector.
The G7 have agreed changes to the Heavily Indebted Poor Country Debt Initiative which will impose more conditionality in return for earlier relief from interest payments.
Clare Short, UK Secretary of State for International Development, has called in parliament for the reform of the IMF’s ESAF loans to make them pro-poor.
G7 finance ministers have agreed a framework to include the private sector in future crisis bailouts.
IMF policies have exacerbated corruption according to a Christian Aid briefing on new approaches to debt relief.
A discussion and critique of the main points in a prominent World Bank report on aid policy and conditionality - “Assessing Aid, What Works, What Doesn’t and Why”. The Bank’s report is very frank about the many failures of aid financing, but its proposals of targeting finance to good performing countries are controversial (1999).
In late October the G7 took limited steps to strengthen the international financial architecture, after the World Bank-IMF annual meetings ended with a plethora of proposals but no substantive agreement.
Leading non-governmental thinkers and advocates met in Ottawa in parallel with the Commonwealth Finance Ministers’ meeting to discuss financial crises and the needs of the world’s most vulnerable and poorest people.