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Government must put overhaul, reform and democratisation of the World Bank on the agenda – Morgan

12 November, 2007

Speaking as a the International Development Association, a branch of the World Bank, was being held in Dublin today, Sinn Féin Economic Affairs spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD called on government to commit to pressing for the overhaul, reform and democratisation of the World Bank.

Deputy Morgan said:

"While there has been a lot of focus on debt cancellation in recent years there has been far too little attention paid to the damage that has been done by the policies being pursued by the World Bank. There has also been a lack of critical focus on how the World Bank and the IMF operate and how they art their core undemocratic organisations.

"The debt burden on developing countries is a symptom of the disease that is at the core of the international financial institutions including the IMF and the World Bank. The role of these two antidemocratic bodies in world politics needs to be challenged.

"These institutions and the interests they represent are responsible for the debt crisis. Every action they take is designed to benefit developed states at the expense of developing countries.

"They were designed for this purpose and they are structured in a way which subjugates the interests of the developing countries to that of the powerful developed states and in particular the USA.

"The selection procedure for IMF and World Bank leaders are totally undemocratic with the Presidency of the World Bank always being reserved for a North American. They have played a huge role in the growth of inequality in the world and the Irish Government should acknowledge this.

"The voting rights within both these bodies are stacked in favour of the developed states and against developing countries.

"Citizens of developing countries are disempowered as economic policy is decided by the IMF and the World Bank. This is done by way of the structural adjustment programmes which are imposed upon indebted countries and which have dramatically aggravated the problems facing those states.

"Their central aim is to impose on developing countries economic policies approved by Washington - governments in developing countries are forced to open up their state's economies - to export more and spend less.

"These governments are forced to drastically reduce public spending, cutting social budgets such as education, health, housing and infrastructure, and ending subsidises on products or services of primary necessity. These policies have been shown to have drastic consequences for local populations as living conditions in these countries have substantially deteriorated since their introduction.

"The Irish Government must put on the international agenda the need to for the overhaul, reform and democratisation of the IMF and World Bank. Ireland should be showing leadership internationally on this issue." ENDS

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