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Iddy Mwanyoka     Email : mwanyoka@nifahamishe.com     
World Bank is Not a Solution
             
African problems are getting worse every day, violence and corruptions scandals are flooding the local and international news. On the other side of the coin the so called “watchdog” fails to do his job. For many years World Bank has pretend to be the solution of African problems, in despite the facts that World Bank is one of the problem of African development.

Back in August 2004, the African Union estimated that corruption cost Africa $148 billion a year, a figure 10 times more than what the Bank gives Africa annually in loans. In its 40-year involvement in Africa, the Bank scandalously wasted tens of billions in failed programs to spur economic growth, promote democracy and good governance. In early 1960s to 1970s, World Bank Invest billion of dollar in healthcare, agriculture, telecommunication and education. By the mid-1990s, more than 2,200 projects had been undertaken but nearly all were seriously undermined by poor Bank supervision, lack of domestic maintenance or neglect. In 1989, the Bank itself admitted to numerous examples of badly chosen and poorly designed public investments it had funded. Half of its development projects in Africa failed, according to its own evaluation report.

The Bank then shifted from project financing to policy reform, but that brought little redemption. Between 1981 and 1991, it loaned more than $25 billion to sponsor "Structural Adjustment Programs" (SAPs) in 29 African countries. The object was to dismantle statist, interventionist behemoths and establish market-based economies. (It was the Bank that funded these statist structures in the 1960s and 1970s in the first place.) But in 1994, the Bank found only six of the 29 adjusting countries -- Gambia, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zimbabwe -- to have performed marginally well. Even worse, this tiny list of "success stories" mysteriously started turning into "black holes." By 1996, Gambia, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe had vanished from the list. And in 2002, the outgoing Bank resident director in Ghana flatly admitted that the Bank erred in tagging Ghana an "economic success story.

In 1998 Word Bank declared that SAP project has failed to empower Africans. On their own words they wrote that “Despite many years of policy reform, barely any country in the region [Africa] has successfully completed its adjustment program with a return to sustained growth”

The Bank knew that up to 30% of its loans were embezzled for personal use. It also knew that nearly 40% of the aggregate wealth created in Africa fled to foreign shores. Even funds earmarked to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria were not spared. Yet, no public official was held accountable or prosecuted until September 2000, when Victor Selormey, Ghana's former finance minister, was jailed for eight years for embezzling $1.2 million of a Bank loan, granted for the computerization of Ghana's court system. In 2003, police found Zambia's former finance minister, Katele Kalumba, hiding in a tree and charged him with theft of some $33 million. And June 2006, Ugandan top officials were indicted for siphoning off tens of millions in grants from the Geneva-based Global Fund for AIDS. Stultifying bureaucratic incompetence and theft also doomed the Bank's ambitious campaign, launched in 1994, to halve malaria deaths by 2010. Malaria cases have risen in recent years

From those few arguments I came to the conclusion that World Bank is not a solution of our problems, instead it is the problem.


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