Mzansi Afrika

From Johannesburg South Africa, a window on the world

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


It's a strange thing, and one of the many hypocracies that abound in the democratic world. Much like the mythological notion of "free" trade which is neither free nor fair. Two of the major global institutions upholding the neo-liberal system of globalisation, the IMF and the World Bank, are neither democratic nor transparent.

Good governance. Consultation. Participation.

You would be a millionaire if you had a dollar for every time a World Bank official has mentioned these words. Unfortunately, the selection process for the top post at the World Bank completely ignores these principles. Right now, there is a vacancy for the most senior post in official world development circles, a job that is of direct interest to billions of people across the globe. The process and candidates are shrouded in secrecy and the only candidates in the running are U.S. citizens.

The Bank’s critics regularly point out the gaps between its rhetoric and reality. But the fact that three White House staffers are responsible for drawing up the short list exposes particularly clearly how tightly the U.S. government controls the institution. Under a gentleman’s agreement from the 1940s the World Bank head and International Monetary Fund (IMF) deputy head are always U.S. citizens, while the head of the IMF is a European. The efforts to open up this system have come to nothing as neither side of the Atlantic has an incentive to be the first to make a change.

The rest of the article is here


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