Friends Like This

Southasia - - Editor’s Mail -

Through its numer­ous projects and re­cent per­for­mance, the World Bank has il­lus­trated that it is cer­tainly not a friend that the South Asian re­gion needs. While on the out­set it may ap­pear that the Bank flies into a coun­try dur­ing times of dire need and em­barks rapidly upon good-will devel­op­ment projects, with the needs of the com­mon man in mind, there is much more than what meets the eye. The Bank is cer­tainly a strong and ac­tive fi­nancier but time and again, it has in­ter­fered in in­ter­nal mat­ters and has tried to es­tab­lish its dom­i­nance in other spheres on na­tional in­ter­est. Fur­ther­more, most World Bank con­tracts come with strings at­tached, which of­ten ask the host coun­try to com­pro­mise on is­sues of sovereignty and na­tional se­cu­rity. In­stead of con­fin­ing to its own scope of work, the Bank pur­posely at­tempts to mon­i­tor domestic pol­i­tics and bud­gets as well as in­ter­feres in projects, al­ready un­der way, con­ducted solely by the host coun­try. It would be to the ben­e­fit of the World Bank to work within its own do­main and re­main in­de­pen­dent. By in­ter­fer­ing in in­ter­nal mat­ters it re­in­forces its rep­u­ta­tion of a devel­op­ment or­ga­ni­za­tion spy­ing on de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. The World Bank could use some dam­age con­trol and if it truly de­sires to be seen as an in­ter­na­tional devel­op­ment or­ga­ni­za­tion with the sole pur­pose of al­le­vi­at­ing so­cioe­co­nomic woes, then it must stick to its own do­main. Mah­jabeen Shahid Dhaka, Bangladesh

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