Discover more from Global South Perspectives ~ by Fadhel Kaboub
My message to the World Bank & IMF in Marrakech
We can’t decarbonize a system that hasn’t been decolonized yet
I was in Marrakech, Morocco last week for the World Bank and International Monetary Fund annual meetings, which took place on African soil for the first time in 50 years! I had the pleasure of participating on a few panels both on the official side of the meetings but also at the counter-summit organized by civil society groups.
Here is the video recording of my “Financing a Just Transition for Africa: We can’t decarbonize a system that hasn’t been decolonized yet,” which was organized at the Civil Society Policy Forum of the WB &IMF annual meetings. My main message was simple, but it’s a message that most policymakers in the Global North don’t want to hear: We can’t decarbonize a system that hasn’t been decolonized yet, And despite repeated communications from the session organizers to the World Bank (which promised to send a panelist to represent them), nobody from the World Bank came to the session (remember that this is an official event co-hosted by the World Bank). And this was the case for most civil society panels at the WB-IMF annual meetings in Marrakech.
I attended an excellent set of workshops and panels at the Global Counter-Summit of Social Movements and met a lot of inspiring civil society leaders and activists from all over the Global South. I also participated in a thought-provoking workshop on degrowth and climate reparations co-hosted by Degrowth in Action, the Transnational Institute, and WOMIN. An important side note from this workshop; it was brilliantly facilitated (with interpretation) by graduate students from the Masters in Political Ecology, Degrowth and Environmental Justice program at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona; it’s worth checking out. We need more of these programs.
I also had the pleasure of speaking on a panel called “Environmental Injustices and Financial Colonialism,” which was moderated by Dorothy Guerrero (Global Justice Now) with co-panelists Lidy Nacpil (Asian People’s Movement on Debt and Development), Hamza Hamouchene (Transnational Institute), and Ahmed El Droubi (Climate Action Network International). You can watch the entire discussion here.
And finally, I am sharing with you the statement I gave to the media before leaving Marrakech (see below). And do read the MARRAKECH STATEMENT from the counter-summit “79 Years Of Neocolonial Exploitation And Destruction By The WB And The IMF, This Is Enough!”
Statement to the media about the WB-IMF annual meetings, by Fadhel Kaboub
October 14, 2023
The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (WB & IMF) were created in 1944 when most of Africa was still colonized. There was no fundamental change made to these institutions when they met in Nairobi 50 years ago, and no such changes were announced in Marrakech that would lead me to believe that the global financial architecture would be decolonized any time soon.
This neocolonial global financial architecture has delivered exactly what it was designed to do, which is:
1) to extract cheap raw materials for the Global North
2) to create large consumer markets for the industrial output of the Global North, and
3) to outsource obsolete technologies and low value-added manufacturing to the Global South.
This neocolonial global financial architecture has failed us economically and ecologically, so we cannot expect it to be the same architecture that will solve our problems today.
The WB & IMF did not indicate any interest in decolonizing African economies or addressing the roots of our external debt problems. We didn't hear any announcements about prioritizing strategic investments in food sovereignty and agroecology, or investments in renewable energy infrastructure and clean cooking technology for deployment in Africa, or investments in pan-Africain high value-added industrialization.
WB & IMF leaders did not even send any staff members to represent them on civil society sponsored panels that they were invited to, which shows a complete disregard and lack of respect to any constructive criticism and alternative policy proposals.
This should galvanize efforts across the Global South to build alternative financial institutions that would challenge the hegemony of the global trade, investment, and financial architectures, and would render the World Bank and IMF redundant institutions that must either be radically transformed or dismantled.
Fadhel Kaboub is an Associate Professor of economics at Denison University (on leave), and the president of the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity, He has recently served as Under-Secretary-General for Financing for Development at the Organisation of Southern Cooperation in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Dr. Kaboub is an expert on designing public policies to enhance monetary and economic sovereignty in the Global South, build resilience, and promote equitable and sustainable prosperity. His recent work focuses on Just Transition, Climate Finance, and transforming the global trade, finance, and investment architecture. His most recent co-authored publication is Just Transition: A Climate, Energy, and Development Vision for Africa (May 2023, published by the Independent Expert Group on Just Transition and Development.). He has held a number of research affiliations with the Levy Economics Institute (NY), the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (MA), the Economic Research Forum (Cairo), Power Shift Africa (Nairobi), and the Center for Strategic Studies on the Maghreb (Tunis). He is currently based in Nairobi, Kenya and is working on climate finance and development policies in Africa. You can follow him on Twitter @FadhelKaboub and you can read his Global South Perspectives on substack where he blogs regularly.