Jump to content

Document Abstract
Published: 2008

No credit due: the World Bank and IMF in Africa

A South African perspective on the World Bank and IMF role in Africa
View full report

This paper questions the lending progammes of the World Bank (WB), and discusses the significance of its engagement with developing economies. It analyses the history and economics of international development policy vis-à-vis developing economies, and critiques the political economy of the policy-based intervention of the WB and IMF in the developing world in general and Africa in particular.

The authors pursue the argument that the Bank, through its policy-based lending, dictates key policies to borrowing countries, thus eroding their autonomous policy space and their ability to evolve economic policies best suited to their particular ecologies and peculiar circumstances. The risk of incurring the wrath of the Bank, which may prompt it to declare such a country non-creditworthy, is often too much for borrowing countries to bear. Furthermore, the IMF has failed to deliver on its key promise of assisting adjusting countries to reduce or eliminate foreign debt. Rather, the globalising policies of the Bank and Fund (structural adjustment programmes, conditional loans, and other policies that hurt the long-term growth and prosperity of the continent) have tended to create or perpetuate massive national debts, as well as social dislocation and disarticulation.

In conclusion, the paper argues that, given the contemporary constellation and balance of forces between the global North and global South, a new model of development will have to emerge from popular political and class struggles at all levels of national and international communities, including the African Union (AU) and the enlarged G77. This model should incorporate a combination of pro-growth policies, institutions that can make effective and people-friendly policies, and a legitimate state anchored on a genuine social contract with the citizenry, Such a model would successfully place African countries on the road to economic recovery and would give them more room to engage, from a position of strength, with the WB and IMF.
View full report


O. Edigheji; A. Amuwo

Amend this document

Help us keep up to date