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African government views: being pushed by Wolfowitz? The New York Times has a very interesting piece analysing why some African governments may be publicly supporting the beleaguered World Bank president. It cites "several bank officials, asking not to be identified in order to avoid reprisals, charged that Mr. Wolfowitz was seeking backing from Africa as a kind of political base to counter the growing resentment among European leaders over his policies, particularly his anticorruption campaign".
The article cites Liberian and Mauritian ministers coming out with positive remarks about Paul Wolfowitz's management of the Bank.
I don't know these ministers, nor their views, but we should remember that endebted countries such as Liberia and Mauritius depend on the World Bank for a substantial amount of their annual cash flow so are not in a position to challenge the powers that be as much as they might like. (A Eurodad piece on Liberia's debt situation explains).
The World Bank's chief spin doctor, former Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan al-Muasher (see our post from yesterday) may be behind these moves, according to a related story on Inter-Press Service. This also covers well a number of other elements of Wolfowitz's allies' attempts to regroup.
The attempt to cajole African countries to support the US government position has strong echoes of the attempts in early 2003 to get developing country Security Council members to give UN authorisation for the invasion of Iraq. Wolfowitz's team (some of whom have since transferred to the Bank) were unsuccessful then, will it be the same now?
Alex Wilks ~ April 15, 2007
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