Water Policies and the International Financial Institutions
Alphabet Soup: Unscrambling the IMF and the World Bank
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Founded in 1944, the IMF is one of the most powerful actors in the global economy. Governed primarily by the major shareholding countries, the Group of 8 (G-8), the IMF lends billions of dollars to countries that are experiencing extreme economic imbalances. The loans come with ‘conditionalities’ that generally include fiscal austerity, de-regulation, privatization, and trade liberalization.
Founded in 1944, the World Bank is made up of four distinct agencies that provide loans to governments and private sector businesses, offer policy advice, and arbitrate investment disputes. Also governed by the major shareholding countries, the World Bank exercises powerful influence over cash-strapped developing country governments that must comply with World Bank conditions in order to access loans and debt relief.
What’s Wrong with the Water Policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund?
The standard policy advice of the IMF and the World Bank is to pay back the debt by cutting the government budget, increasing revenues, and shrinking the public sector through "privatization" – selling public enterprises such as water, electricity and telecommunications to private corporations. The IMF and the World Bank place conditions on their loans requiring goverments to increase consumer prices for water and privatize water utilities. In developing countries, where most of the population makes less than US$2 a day, increased water fees mean that families are forced to make daily trade-offs between safe water, food, clothing, school fees and health care.
What really happens to the World Bank's reports? Click here.
In the news:
July 29: World Bank rebuked over water deal
March 28: From Wolfensohn to Wolfowitz: The Imperial Wolf Shows its Teeth
March 19: The World Bank: a Bigger Problem Than Wolfowitz
March 16: Wolfowitz to World Bank?! – critics amazed
March 14: Staff Accuses World Bank of ”Cooking the Books”
October 31: Crime and reward: Immunity to the World Bank
May 27: South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel calls for IMF attitude reform
January: Water Privatization: The World Bank's Latest Market Fantasy
December 12: World Bank and ADB’s Role in Privatizing Water in Asia
January 7: World Bank, IMF: Privatize Water Utilities
World Bank pushes private water
Water for profit: how multinationals are taking control of a public resource
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