SWEEPING reforms in the World Bank were called for yesterday by Christian Aid, which accused it of wastefulness and causing widespread social and environmental damage in the Third World, writes David Nicholson-Lord.
A report from Christian Aid, Who Runs The World?, published to coincide with the bank's fiftieth anniversary, says its structural adjustment programmes, introduced in response to the Third World debt crisis, have produced mass unemployment, the collapse of health and education systems, cultural disintegration and severe soil erosion and deforestation.
Despite widening the poverty gap, both within developing countries and between the developed and industrialised world, the programmes have not solved the crisis, according to the report. Third World debt continues to grow and the bank and the International Monetary Fund receive more than they hand out.
The charity is launching a campaign aimed at opening the bank to public scrutiny and promoting environmentally friendly and 'people-based' alternatives to what it regards as the bank's obsession with failed free-market orthodoxies. Taxpayers paid pounds 239m to the bank and the IMF last year, 13 per cent of its aid budget.
Who Runs The World?; pounds 4.99; Christian Aid, PO Box 100, London SE1 7RT.
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