Week 3: MDGs in the WTO and IMF

The World Bank and the IMF serve as international financial sources, committed to the Millennium Development Goals and the fostering of global monetary cooperation. Supporting growth and stability in developing countries, they both state that their mission is to end global poverty. Looming large on the international field, many would argue the “conditionality” of their lending practices causes undue burdens on borrowing countries. I would argue the bigger problem perhaps, is the infringement on countries’ abilities to control resources and be the primary provider of goods and services.

The idea that the MDGs are achievable in all regions is not realistic; every country must take into consideration their resources and place in the global community. Monetary issues restrict what MDGs a country can tackle, perhaps limiting the scope to education or to health. Not both. Take Mozambique for example. Here, we see a case where, in the last fifteen years, poverty has fallen from a staggering eighty-four percent to sixty-four percent. While these numbers are still brutally high, their primary school enrollment skyrocketed from forty-two percent to seventy percent. The debt-to-GDP ratio sunk from three hundred and thirty percent to forty. With these examples we can see how it can be difficult for developing countries to improve dramatically in all aspects of social and economic equality.

Sub-Saharan Africa ranks not as one entity, but as many. We cannot discuss Sub-Saharan Africa as if it is one, homogenous and unified region. Complex social, political, and cultural divides highlight the diversity of this large religion. Social spending is essential to the economic system of many of SSA countries, due to the fact that these government funds provide the necessary assistance for things such as health or education.

Poverty-graph-SSA

(The World Bank)

In order to keep MDGs on the right path despite economic and financial crises is there must be policy reforms, increased aid and trade access, and sustainable support from international financial institutions. In Africa’s case, there are five fundamental changes that need to happen; more accountable and democratic governments, sensible economic policies, the end of debt-crisis, the spread of new technologies, and the emergence of a new generation of policymakers and leaders (Radelet). We can measure the development of such countries with human development indicators such as the Human Development Index (HDI), mortality rates, and literacy rates.

OXFAM

(oxfam.org)

Oxfam International is one identifiable critic of the MDGs, citing the reality of humanitarian aid. There merely isn’t enough, and that means we must reevaluate what are achievable goals for developing countries, according to their financial standing and governmental stability. Valuing practically, they use innovative ways to improve farming, healthcare, and livelihoods. Oxfam reports the MDGs do not lend enough self-sufficiency. It also criticizes the IMF, stating they shouldn’t punish the world’s poorest.

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