The international monetary fund and world bank are holding their annual meetings in Africa for the first time in 50 years as they face a growing chorus of criticism that poorer nations are underrepresented at the two institutions. Both have recently said they plan to give Africa additional seats on their executive boards. This comes as African leaders are calling for a level playing field and reform of global lending systems.
What does this meeting portend for the future of the global financial system and what leverage can it give African nations grappling with growing debt.
Analysts have waded into the issue of Africa being a victim of unfair lending rates from Bretton Woods institutions who are accused of being instruments of western imperialism as the public relations arm of the west.
IMF and World Bank have their fiscal policy template for developing nations in devaluation of their currencies and open market policy which over the years have seen such countries sinking deeper into an abyss of debt because of anti-production policies.
The IMF says it works to achieve sustainable growth and prosperity for all of its 190 member countries and it does so by supporting economic policies that promote financial stability and monetary cooperation, which are essential to increase productivity, job creation, and economic well-being.
But how many African nations can attest to this based on their interaction with the global lender over the years?
President Ruto in New York, said a financial system that does not address the debt stress facing most low-income countries, majority in Africa, is counterproductive in driving its transformation agenda and echoing the thoughts of other leaders has called for restructuring of indebted nations to ease the burden if the globe is to collectively meet its development goals.
This year’s meeting has its theme “Global Action, Global Impact”. It will be critical to see how it responds to growing calls from the African block on issues of debt restructuring, a level playing field when it comes to lending rates and a deliberate attempt to see African nations as a partner and not a beggar coming cap in hand.