The International Monetary Fund ( IMF ) and the World Bank conducted their annual meetings in Morocco on Monday, 9th October 2023. The meetings are being conducted in Morocco one month after an earthquake killed around 3,000 people in the country. These meetings in an African nation are the first ones in 50 years. The last time that Africa played host to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s annual meetings was in the year 1973 in Kenya. At that time, some of the nations were still under colonial rule.
It had been decided by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in the year 2018 that their annual meeting would be hosted in Marrakech, Morocco. Marrakesh, the Southern Moroccan city, was supposed to originally host the meetings in the year of 2021; but the annual gatherings had been delayed and postponed twice due to the Covid – 19 Pandemic.
“The existential threat of climate change…” :
Presently, the continent faces numerous challenges including military coups, conflicts, natural disasters and poverty. Last month, on September 8, 2023, a devastating earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8-6.9 struck Morocco, causing nearly 3,000 casualties and more than $10 billions of damage and wreckage. This makes both civil society groups and the officials to eagerly anticipate discussions and talks in regard to promoting economic recovery and resiliency in the wake of natural disasters.
The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund ( IMF ), Kristalina Georgieva stated in a speech last week in Abidjan that a prosperous world economy in the 21st century requires a prosperous Africa. Symbolically, a third seat on the executive boards of the IMF and World Bank is to be given to Africa. To this, Georgieva said that the decision would give the continent of Africa a stronger voice. In a speech on Thursday, Kristalina Georgieva also stated that “In no other area is the need for international cooperation as evident as in addressing the existential threat of climate change.” She further added that “the world has a responsibility to stand with vulnerable countries as they deal with shocks they have not caused”.
The main issues, like a lot of times, revolve mostly around money. Since it would force them to put up more funds, the major contributors are not in favor of a significant capital increase. The move would also give more influence to emerging economic powers such as India and China. Though, the World Bank is apparently expected to confirm plans in order to boost lending by $50 billion over the next ten years through changes in the balance sheet.
Ajay Banga, the President of the World Bank wishes to go further and increase capacity by $100 billion or $125 billion with contributions from advanced economies. The issue, however, is very much unlikely to be finalised and concluded in Marrakesh.
Amitabh Behar, the Executive Director of Oxfam International stated that the IMF and World Bank are returning to Africa for the first time in 5 decades along with the “same old failed message”. He also added that the IMF is forcing poorer nations into a starvation diet of “spending cuts, driving up inequality and suffering”.