by: Courtney Doll
The Millennium Development Goals provide an optimistic list of ways to improve underperforming societies. But without written requirements and committed countries, there is no definite way to ensure the goals are accomplished. Organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank hope to help countries achieve the goals by lending a helping hand.
The World Bank website says it is “committed to helping achieve the MDGs because, simply put, these goals are our goals.” The World Bank lends money to countries included in the MDGs to help maintain economic progress. One example of this aid is a recent allocation of funds to the Central Africa Republic. In late January 2014, the World Bank Group mobilized $100 million to the country to deal with the aftermath of violence in the country. More than a quarter of the population of the CAR was displaced, and the bank is hoping the money will help the country help its citizens and its economy recover.
The CAR cannot be irresponsible with this amount of money. It must help the displaced population get back on its feet and rebuild the infrastructure. A country cannot expect to be successful if the people do not have money to pump into the economy. And buildings must be functional and allow businesses to survive and thrive to help keep the economy moving.
The IMF says it hopes to help poor countries “achieve the sustained high levels of growth that establish the basis for poverty reduction.” The IMF gives countries financial support and some debt relief to help them boost their economy. The IMF also says it “tries to ensure that developed countries’ policies are supportive of low-income countries’ development efforts, by advocating for increased foreign aid, the opening of markets to developing countries’ exports, and the maintenance of a healthy, enabling international economic climate.” All in all, the IMF says its role in the MDGs is to provide economic assistance to developing countries, hoping the countries will achieve their goals of economic prosperity.
However, not everyone is convinced the IMF is successful at achieving its goals. The Bretton Woods Project calls itself a “critical voice on the World Bank and IMF”. It says “countries with IMF programmes implemented more stimulus than others in 2009 but, conversely, are forecast to cut it back more sharply in 2010. This implies that, while the IMF protected social sector spending at the start of the crisis, it is now advising countries to reduce it.” The website claims the IMF is hurting the developing countries that are attempting to boost their economies.
If both organizations hope to see the MDGs succeed by next year, they need to work together to ensure aid continues to reach developing countries. Both the IMF and World Bank have implied obligations to ensure countries have successful economies and can prosper by the end of 2015.