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Annual Meetings round-up: As uncertainty reigns in the global economy, there are strong calls for a rethink of Fund and Bank policies

Maria Romero, Mark Perera, Gino Brunswijck

16 Oct 2018 15:22:45

With the country still reeling from the devastation of the Sulawesi tsunami, Indonesia played host to the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group (WBG), in Bali last week. The sobriety of the moment was reflected in gloomy forecasts from the IMF, which issued stark warnings of debt and trade risks to global growth. Meanwhile, controversy surrounded the World Bank’s new Human Capital Index; the 2019 World Development Report; and the ‘private finance first’ approach at the core of the Bank’s Maximising Finance for Development. CSOs and academics raised their voices to shine a light on the risks that the policies of the Bretton Woods Institutions (BWIs) posed to human rights and sustainable development across the Global South. Eurodad presented new ...

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Argentina: 20 años después, ¿realmente han cambiado los métodos del FMI?

Bodo Ellmers, Maria Romero, Gino Brunswijck

02 Aug 2018 10:33:27

This is a Spanish version of the article: Argentina: 20 years on, has the IMF really changed its ways? It has been initially published at FARN website.En julio, los argentinos experimentaron un déjà vu con los anuncios del gobierno de despidos masivos y congelamiento de salarios como parte de las medidas de ajuste ligadas a un préstamo del Fondo Monetario Internacional (FMI). Miles de funcionarios públicos se ven obligados una vez más a asumir duras medidas de austeridad. De acuerdo con el programa del FMI se introducirán medidas selectivas de asistencia social para compensar la situación. La crisis financiera que azota el país y el retorno al Fondo traen malos recuerdos a muchos argentinos que no olvidan el año 2001, en que las políticas ...

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G20 game over? Three reasons why the Finance Ministers’ meeting shows the G20’s time may be up

Jesse Griffiths, Maria Romero, Tove Ryding

24 Jul 2018 18:27:54

The G20 Finance Ministers of the world’s largest economies met in Buenos Aires last weekend, but their failure to tackle pressing global problems, including the threat of trade wars and a looming debt crisis, highlighted how ineffective the G20 has become.  Given that the G20 cannot tackle key issues, is promoting ineffective initiatives, and has largely become a rubber stamping body for other actors, the time is ripe to rethink how the global economy is governed, and to promote alternatives.1.    The G20 cannot tackle key issues The 2017 G20 showed how the ‘anti-multilateralism’ approach of the world’s major powers immediately dampened the prospects of new initiatives coming out of the G20, as Eurodad reported at the time. It is no surprise, therefore, ...

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Argentina: 20 years on, has the IMF really changed its ways?

Bodo Ellmers, Maria Romero, Gino Brunswijck

24 Jul 2018 09:44:46

This article has also been published by Triple Crisis. Argentinians are experiencing deja-vu this month as the government announces massive layoffs and a hiring freeze as part of an adjustment package attached to a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Thousands of public servants are being forced yet again to swallow the bitter pill of austerity, which the IMF programme - published last Friday - aims to patch up through increased targeted social assistance. For many Argentinians the financial crisis gripping the country, and the return to the Fund, brings back bad memories of 2001. Then, IMF-induced policies triggered the worst economic meltdown in Argentinian history. A cocktail of austerity measures contributed to the contraction of economic activity with a loss of 20 % ...

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The EU must put poverty reduction before corporate profits when financing development

Maria Romero

27 Apr 2018 09:10:26

The article was originally published at EurActiv.comThe EU’s plan to expand its External Investment Plan to finance development projects is not backed up by evidence, writes María José Romero and Isabelle Brachet. María José Romero is Policy and Advocacy Manager at the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad). Isabelle Brachet is ActionAid International EU Advocacy Advisor. In recent years, the EU has come to regard investments by the private sector as the silver bullet when it comes to financing development projects. The latest indication of this is the European Commission’s plan to expand the €4 billion European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD) as it prepares the proposal for the next EU budget. The EFSD is a central pillar of the External Investment Plan ...

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Public-private partnerships don't work. It's time for the World Bank to take action.

Maria Romero

26 Apr 2018 13:48:31

This article was initially published at DevexThis week, executive directors of the World Bank were handed a letter signed by more than 80 civil society organizations and trade unions from around the world, urging a change in the bank’s approach to public-private partnerships. This action, during the IMF and World Bank Group Spring Meetings, should not have come as a surprise. It is part of a global campaign on PPPs launched last October with the support of more than 150 organizations that are exasperated by the lack of action on this critical issue. The campaign manifesto outlines CSOs’ alarm at the increasing promotion of PPPs to deliver infrastructure projects and public services around the world, and in particular the World Bank’s role in energetically promoting ...
The Spring Meetings of the IMF and World Bank took place amid warnings of a ‘borrowed boom’ as an uptick in global growth was matched by global debt levels reaching record highs. The World Bank Group shareholders stumped up for an increase in the ...

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The fiscal costs of PPPs in the spotlight

Maria Romero

16 Mar 2018 10:05:51

This article was originally published in the UNCTAD Investment Policy Hub Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are increasingly being promoted as a way to finance development projects. To pave the way for PPPs, donor governments and financial institutions, led by the World Bank Group, have set up multiple donor initiatives to promote changes in national regulatory frameworks, to provide advice and to finance PPP projects. The value of PPPs in the developing world has grown rapidly since 2004 - over an eight-year period, investments through PPPs increased by a factor of six, from US$25 billion to US$164 billion.[1] Since then, the trend has been more volatile - although investment in PPPs fell in 2013, they picked up again and continued to increase in 2014 and in 2015 (US$104 and US$118 ...

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G20 lands in South America and puts infrastructure financing centre stage

Maria Romero

14 Dec 2017 13:04:11

For the first time a South American country - Argentina - is president of the G20, and theoretically at least, the whole continent has a major opportunity to make its voice heard. When it took over the presidency at the beginning of December, the Argentinean government announced one of its priorities would be 'infrastructure for development'. So far so good - along with many other South American governments, Argentina is making the right noises, but questions remain about what kind of infrastructure will get financed, and how.   To mark the beginning of the new G20 presidency, civil society groups led by Fundación Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (FARN) organised an inspiring gathering to discuss, among other things, the growing trend of promoting public-private partnerships (PPPs) ...

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IMF challenged to match inequality rhetoric with action, and a campaign against the World Bank’s promotion of PPPs: Annual Meetings round up

Maria Romero, Mark Perera

18 Oct 2017 11:05:05

The annual meetings of the Bretton Woods Institutions (the IMF and World Bank) are over for another year. The meetings in Washington DC were held against a background of strengthened but patchy global economic growth mixed with considerable crisis risks and renewed geopolitical fights over the World Bank’s demand for a capital increase. Meanwhile, civil society organisations (CSOs) questioned the development impact of the Bretton Woods Institutions, and launched a global campaign against public-private partnerships (PPPs). IMF worries about debt (in China) and talks of taxing the rich more The 2017 Annual Meetings were preceded by the publication of the IMF’s World Economic Outlook (WEO), in which the IMF signalled stronger than expected growth forecasts for the global economy in 2017 ...