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Bretton Woods Update No.60 March/April 2008

PDF version | At Issue PDF | text version | versión en español

A taxing agenda for the IMF

by Alex Wilks and Marta Ruiz

News|1 April 2008

The irony of the IMF giving a passing grade to Liechtenstein on money laundering in the same month that Germany launches a massive investigation into tax evasion based in the Alpine country shows that the Fund has a lot of work to do if it wants to help clamp down on illicit flows. read article...

World Bank climate funds: "a huge leap backwards"

News|1 April 2008

Illustration by Robin Heighway-Bury/

The recently proposed climate investment funds to be administered by the World Bank are under heavy fire for proposing a governance structure that replicates the inequities of the Bank's board and undermines the UN climate framework. read article...

IFC challenges highlighted in the Middle East Doing Business indicators come under fire

by Amy Ekdawi

News|1 April 2008

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank, is rapidly increasing its investment in the Middle East, raising questions about the development value of its activities. A Norwegian study of the IFC's Doing Business indicators questions the usefulness of the index to making real-life improvements to a country's business environment. read article...

IMF governance renovations: fresh paint while foundations rot

News|1 April 2008

The shareholders of the IMF have squandered the political will for governance reform of the institution by making marginal changes that will fail to shift the balance of power. read article...

World Bank strategic review kicked into long grass

News|1 April 2008

Since president Robert Zoellick announced his six "strategic themes" for the Bank at the annual meetings in 2007, Bank watchers have been trying to decipher what this means for a planned strategic review. read article...

Facilitating whose power? WB and IMF policy influence in Nigeria's energy sector

by Lucy Baker

At Issue|2 April 2008

Despite rhetoric to the contrary, the World Bank's energy portfolio still fails to reap the double dividend of renewable energy technologies that would tackle both energy poverty and climate change. Nigerian economic policies shaped by World Bank and IMF recommendations, policy agreements and conditionality have so far lead to a dysfunctional electricity privatisation process, a heavy and as yet unfulfilled reliance on reform of the gas sector, and the failure to make any widespread practical progress on pro-poor, decentralised renewable energy read article...

Leaky logic: dams in three countries questioned

by Soren Ambrose and Lucy Baker

News|1 April 2008

Recent reports have raised new questions about the impacts of World Bank-funded dams in Uganda and Laos, while in Mozambique the World Bank will likely be approached to fund another controversial project likely to be spearheaded by China read article...

Forest carbon facility: "more harm than good"?

News|1 April 2008

As details emerge of the World Bank's new facility to pay countries for preventing deforestation, concerns about its operations and governance mount. read article...

Camisea and the World Bank: A lost opportunity to make things better

by César Gamboa

Comment|1 April 2008

Several weeks ago the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank approved a loan for Camisea II in Peru, the project to export liquefied natural gas. Even though concerns had been raised about this project over environmental, social and now economic issues, the IFC did not hesitate to provide a loan for the Lot 56 consortium operated by Hunt Oil (Peru NLG). read article...

Calls for Bank to uphold human rights

News|1 April 2008

As the UN human rights council holds its seventh session in Geneva in March, a variety of recent reports calling for greater human rights accountability of the World Bank have been published. read article...

Rural electrification: "financial viability" over welfare

News|1 April 2008

A recent evaluation by the World Bank's Internal Evaluation Group on the welfare impact of rural electrification finds that only seven per cent of dedicated World Bank rural electrification projects have an explicit poverty reduction objective. read article...

The World Bank and health

Inside the inst|1 April 2008

In the last five years the global system for channelling development finance to the health sector has changed radically, causing the Bank to seriously re-examine its role in health finance. This article covers the who, what, where and how much of the World Bank's work with in the health sector. read article...

Training for nothing? IFIs asked to surrender reins over capacity building

News|1 April 2008

An evaluation of the World Bank’s training for capacity building reveals serious flaws in design and implementation that undermine country ownership; the same criticism is being levelled at the IMF over its plans to charge for technical assistance. read article...

Bank both player and referee in road to Accra

by Lucy Hayes

News|1 April 2008

On aid effectiveness the World Bank is both player and referee, prompting cries of foul play by civil society groups. read article...

Europe questions IFIs on conditionality: whose outcome?

by Nuria Molina

News|1 April 2008

A new report shows that IMF structural conditionality did not decline in the five years after the approval of the Fund’s conditionality guidelines. With little progress at the World Bank, many wonder whether a new approach is needed. read article...

IFIs foot dragging on key debt issues

by Nancy Dubosse

News|1 April 2008

The IFIs are struggling to catch up to global debates on odious debts and responsible financing; have failed to take action on vulture funds; and have been dragging their feet on debt relief programmes for Haiti and Liberia. read article...

The IMF in Argentina: the search for relevance

by María José Romero

News|1 April 2008

Since Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner assumed the presidency in December the Fund has been involved with the renegotiation of Argentinean debt with the Paris Club and a controversy over official statistics. read article...

World Bank and procurement: Development tool or TNC sop?

News|1 April 2008

A new study on the Bank's push for procurement reform suggests that a narrow focus on value for money may undermine the ability of governments to use procurement as a tool for development; meanwhile US and European corporate lobbyists continue to pressure the Bank to go slow on the use of developing countries' own procurement systems. read article...

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