A Friend in Need

Southasia - - Editor’s Mail -

Your cover story on the role played by the World Bank in South Asia was very in­for­ma­tive and well balanced. The World Bank has carved a very du­bi­ous im­age for it­self in this re­gion, given its my­opic poli­cies and strin­gent terms, of­ten il­lus­trat­ing a de­sire to delve into mat­ters of na­tional con­cern where it re­mains un­wel­comed. How­ever, it must be noted that most in­fras­truc­tural devel­op­ment and so­cioe­co­nomic pro­grams cur­rently ac­tive in the South Asian re­gion are a di­rect re­sult of the bless­ings from The Bank. Coun­tries like Pak­istan and Bangla- desh are over­whelm­ingly de­pen­dant on such in­vest­ments and in many in­stances, World Bank pro­grams are aban­doned mid-way not be­cause of the Bank’s poli­cies but rather be­cause of the in­ad­e­qua­cies and sky­rock­et­ing cor­rup­tion of the host coun­try. Sri Lanka con­tin­ues to ex­pand its econ­omy at a phe­nom­e­nal rate and has ben­e­fit­ted greatly from World Bank pro­grams. There seems to be a ten­dency in South Asian coun­tries to read­ily wel­come in­vest­ment and sooner than later jeop­ar­dize on-go­ing projects due to their own in­ad­e­qua­cies. Most re­cently, the World Bank has pulled out of numer­ous projects in Bangladesh where the government claims that the Bank was in­ter­fer­ing too much in in­ter­nal deci- sions. The re­al­ity is that, cor­rup­tion at the government level in Bangladesh is what truly halted any devel­op­ment in the coun­try. If South Asian coun­tries are not able to clean up their own act, they might find them­selves with­out one of their most gen­er­ous friends; a move that not a sin­gle coun­try in the re­gion can af­ford. Khalil Khu­mar

Paris, France

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