Mzansi Afrika

From Johannesburg South Africa, a window on the world

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Manuel calls for reforms at IMF, World Bank

The Mail and Guardian reports: South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel on Tuesday called for the reform of the "attitudes" of multilateral institutions to allow for the participation of developing countries.

Addressing delegates at the African Development Bank (ADB) meeting in Kampala, Uganda, Manuel said the lack of progress in "participation and voting power of developing countries in the IMF and the World Bank is disappointing and is holding back the creation of productive global partnerships".

He said for the partnerships to be realised, significant and rapid changes in the access of markets for products from developing countries were needed.

Manuel also said reforms in African state institutions "to balance the distribution of economic burdens and opportunities" were weakened by conditions attached to the financial assistance that poor countries were receiving.

"Poverty in Africa is of such scale that efforts to address it require far more than reform in individual countries -- it requires concerted activism, reform to our multilateral institutions, their instruments and their attitudes," he said.

Calling for a better and untied development assistance Manual said: "While substantial progress has been made in strengthening the national ownership of poverty reduction strategies, this needs to be matched by similar efforts at the global level."

He said it was the responsibility of African governments to strengthen the shift in decision-making about Africa from North to South.

The two-day annual meeting was attended by finance ministers, central bank governors and business leaders from 77 member countries of the ADB.

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