Friday, May 24, 2024

Time is up – IMF and World Bank must end colonial rule, says ActionAid


FILE PHOTO: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) logo is seen outside the headquarters building in Washington, U.S., September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

The time is up for the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to continue with perpetuating a colonial rule, says ActionAid as the institutions concluded their Spring meetings in Washington DC this week.

ActionAid says for the 80 years the IMF and World Bank have been in existence, not much has changed. Instead, global South countries have been pushed further into debt and are reeling from the impacts of IMF-imposed austerity measures.

In its 2023 report Fifty Years of Failure, ActionAid found that despite following the IMF’s advice for decades, many African countries are in debt distress or facing a high risk of debt distress. Austerity measures have blocked the recruitment of teachers, doctors and nurses, even in countries with severe shortages, and has squeezed public sector salaries at a time of a rising cost of living.

Roos Saalbrink, Global Lead on Economic Justice and Public Services at ActionAid International, says, “Countries in the global South have since the structural adjustment progammes been in perpetual austerity, eroding public health and education. At a time of unprecedented climate crisis and debt crisis in the global South, the Bretton Woods Institutions continue to oil the wheels of colonial exploitation and extraction. At the same time global South governments have very little say in the policies coming from these institutions at the center of the international financial architecture. 80 years is enough.”

ActionAid is also concerned about a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ which has ensured that the IMF managing director has for 80 years been European and the World Bank president a US national.

Niranjali Amerasinghe, Country Director of ActionAid USA, says, “Kristalina Georgieva’s appointment is a continuation of the colonial era ‘gentleman’s agreement’, where rich western powers have the most say. It is unacceptable that 80 years later we are still having to call this out. The IMF must change its leadership selection process, its decision-making model, and the harmful practices that keep developing countries in a cycle of crisis. As the climate crisis wreaks havoc, global South countries are so deep in debt that they cannot adapt to these impacts. We are calling for debt cancellation and tax justice to help these countries free up the finances needed to build resilience to climate impacts.”

“We need to see an overhaul of the international financial architecture with a proper debt workout mechanism, a UN tax convention, to ensure global South governments have a say over policies impacting them disproportionately.”


  1. This is, as ever, progressive stuff by ActionAid but it’s a monologue. It would be better if the World Bank and IMF would respond, or better the Western clique that controls the two Washington institutions. These voices are not new and neither is the silence from the West.

    • IMF and World Bank must end colonial rule?? Dream on. The natural resources in first world countries which run IMF and WB, arent enough to support citizens. Where else will they get the deficit if not from unawoke Third World Countries and sources such as Ukraine? They will therefore ensure the perpetuation of colonialism in different forms.

  2. ……….

    It is mostly in Africa where you find failed states on IMF and World programs…….

    Most other dirt poor states are pulling out of poverty, like bangaladesh , Cambodia, Vietnam…….

    In Africa we seem to take 1 step forward and 2 sideways and 1 backwards……….

    It is also interesting to to note that it is in Africa where traditional values and languages have be supplanted with those of the west in
    almost all countries………..

  3. I don’t get it…who is forcing African countries to go and ask help from IMF…..yes blame it on our Politicians and their gullible followers who celebrate IMF debt……when we tell them that IMF is a predatory money lender they insult us….

  4. We had one Haikainde Hichilema organizing his cadres all the way from KKIA to his house celebrating his victory on further enslavement. His has obeyed every rule from IMF of blotting the wage bill by employing government workers in large quantities, removing subsidies on essential commodities for his people, giving away mines but what has he got in exchange. Just promises and promises while we have the highest cost of living and a huge power deficit in the history of the country. He even went further to sell the maize reserves that his government did not produce.

  5. Organisations like ActionAid should stop their blame game and tell many of the leaders of impoverished countries, particularly in Africa, to instigate better governance and stamp down on corruption. Zambia was a classic case.
    Colonial rule ended many years ago and at the end of it, Singapore and Malaysia who were colonies of the British were in the same position as Zambia, look at them now and look at Zambia.
    Your country Zambia is beholden to the IMF because of your incompetent latest past leader of Edgar Lungu, no one forced him to burrow loads of money to enrich himself and his minions. That is the reason Zambia defaulted, nothing to do with Colonialism

    • Even a thousand years from now , when the west dissapears ………

      These numbheads will still be blaming others for their incompetence………

    • The West will dissappear? TB Joshua told you so? The West is advocating for a Global Government in which they will control everything from your menu to your religion

  6. Those comment writers who are casting dispersions at the current President for celebrating the deal with the IMF, should be saying to Lungu, why did you get us into messy situation.

  7. Then stop borrowing. IMF are like our local shylocks. The shylock finds you in the bar he buys you one beer, another beer, a third beer…. you think he loves you…. and you will tell everyone how ba Mkandawire loves you…. it’s a PR trick…he allows you to borrow as much as you wish… the rest is history… he keeps your ATM card ( time to switch to telephone withdraws?)…. He now grabs your…. same with IMF. They don’t stop you borrowing until you realize what mess you have landed the country into.

  8. When we warn you against these organisations it’s not scaremongering. It’s because we know their agenda from their own perspective and interest. So when we comment, don’t wait for another useless muzungu to tell you what we already know instead of singing your daddy cholo lo songs.

  9. I agree with you. We had a former president who should have been convicted for corruption after being put on his defence. He gave an unsworn statement in court as defence and was therefore not crossexamined. The court surprisingly freed him but convicted his co-accused who gave sworn statements. I do not blame the magistrate who did that but the President of the day who interfered with the court process.

  10. @ kci ask ECL on Zesco upgrade since he got that loan on behalf of the power utility company. Long story short, those turbines

  11. @ kci ask ECL on Zesco upgrade since he got that loan on behalf of the power utility company. Long story short, those turbines cannot be switched on all at once lest they suck the dam dry.

    • @Bernard, if a topic is above your intellect, it is better you just keep quiet. If for example this topic was about cattle ranching which I have no idea about, I will just read and move on. I am asking you to go back and research how much Lungu added to the power grid during his tenure then come back to me and may be we can discuss cows.

  12. @kci. I bagged two Diplomas in Agricultural Engineering, one from Germany and another from the Netherlands plus a Certificate in Irrigation from JICA Tsukuba, Japan. In Japan f.i. I had an opportunity to explore Toni river that has dams for irrigation as well as power generation. Power generation company was visited & what goes on explained. You may wish to know rice is the staple food in Japan, but Japanese rice is expensive compared to Thai Rice. Why, Japanese Farmers highly qualified. I wish I could teach you Japanese way of feeding or the Germany way, you would not complain of high prices.

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