who will be next World Bank President What will they do


Civil Society points to double standards Of course civil society groups critical of the World Bank have not been silent. The release below highlights the question of the double standard: if a high-ranking African government official had behaved the way Wolfowitz has done, what would the Bank have said?

April, 13 2007

Contact: Sameer Dossani (202) 340 0216
Lidy Nacpil (281) 236 9474

As Wolfowitz Feels Pressure to Resign,
Critics Call for Accountability, Transparency and Democratization of
the IFI's

Institutions' Edges Fraying as Finance Ministers Gather
for Semi-Annual Meetings April 14-15

The annual spring meetings of the World Bank and the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) are scheduled to take place in Washington, DC on
April 14-15. These meetings are overshadowed by allegations that the
World Bank president, Paul Wolfowitz, ensured that his longtime
partner Shah Riza was given a promotion and pay rise prior to her
leaving the World Bank to work at the U.S. State Department. Riza
currently earns close to $200,000 per year, more than the head of the
State Department, Condaleeza Rice.

"The alleged nepotism here shows the double standard when it comes to
corruption," said Sameer Dossani of the 50 Years Is Enough Network.
"Wolfowitz, like his neoconservative allies in the White House and
elsewhere, has advanced his agenda by promoting his allies and
friends. If this were taking place in an African government, we would
hear the usual lines about corruption standing in the way of
development. Where is the accountability here? If the World Bank is
serious about good governance it will have to first give itself a
dose of its own medicine: fire Wolfowitz, end the dubious practice of
letting the U.S. administration of the day appoint the World Bank
president, and take measures to ensure meaningful transparency,
accountability and democracy within the institutions themselves."

Critics have linked this debacle to the ongoing crisis of relevance
within the World Bank and the IMF. In Europe, some countries are
starting to break from following the institutions' lead on the
question of economic conditions. "In response to our campaigns, the
government of Norway has announced that it will not tie its aid to
economic conditions," said John Jones of Networkers South-North
"While there is still a long way to go, actions like those of Norway
and the UK are a logical outcome of reports that have been coming
from the Bank for years. These reports state that the policies have
been a failure for poverty reduction and economic growth. It is time
to allow space for countries to determine their own destinies."

Well known Philippine activist and International Coordinator of
Jubilee South, Lidy Nacpil went one step further. "It is true that
the conditions don't make sense, but it is also true that these
policies have been the cause of untold suffering in the Global South.
There must be some accountability, some form of reparations,
especially for the most egregious of the IMF's and World Bank's sins.
Millions of the most oppressed and impoverished people have been made
to pay for their suffering twice. First, through the vital support
these institutions gave to keep dictatorships in power such as Marcos
in my own country, Mobutu in Zaire/Congo, Somoza in Nicaragua and,
the apartheid regime in South Africa, and second, through debts that
have prevented governments from providing basic social services for


Soren Ambrose ~ April 15, 2007

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