Tuesday, May 08, 2007

We need to make more of a world bank out of the World Bank

Sir of course the "World Bank has greater problems than Wolfowitz", as E.A.S. Sarma says, May 8, but if he as a Former Secretary of Economic Affairs of India really believes that "setting up an Independent People's Tribunal to place the policies and programmes of the World Bank under the scanner, is part of finding the path for their own development", then may I suggest he has himself a bigger problem, as so do those who like my country Venezuela believe they are better off outside the World Bank.

Lets face it, the World Bank, after 64 years of activities has an outstanding accumulated portfolio of $103bn which compared for instance just to the $62bn in remittances made only last year to their homelands by the Latin-American migrant workers is a drop in the ocean, much more so when the financial flows to the richest country of the world are such staggering amounts that we are better off not even mentioning them.

As I see it, the faster we split up the bank in two completely separate areas, one for the development issues of the poor, laggard or left behind countries, and one for the global world development issues, the better chances we have of making a big dent in the poverty and a truer world bank out of the World Bank. At the Word Bank's Executive Board instead of reshuffling the seats among countries, we need to assure the representation of international actors such as multinational corporations, migrant workers and international labour unions.

By the way, if I had the luck and honour to be left in that division of the World Bank in charge of helping the laggards catch up, I know exactly what I would do. I would put all my efforts to strengthen the confidence of the poor people in their own capacity, so that they dare to ride a bicycle on their own, instead of trying to make their misery more liveable, holding their bikes, or offering them scapegoats and excuses for their falls, such as the World Bank.