With the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings wrapping up, Nadia Daar, the head of Oxfam International’s Washington office commented on the week’s events:
The IMF and inequality:
“The IMF came out and said it: making the rich pay their fair share can reduce inequality without harming growth. This wasn’t buried in a piece of research, away from the public eye: Christine Lagarde told this to the assembled group of finance ministers. We’ve been calling for a clear statement like this from the IMF for years; seeing it happen is a refreshing sign that change and progress is possible.
“But let’s be clear: while this research and rhetoric is a sea change for the IMF, it’s still far from fully translating it into action. We looked at several of the IMF’s ‘Article IV’ country reports meant to address inequality and found very little that would reduce it. We’re hopeful to see these efforts evolve to match the IMF’s own research.”
The World Bank and climate change:
“Jim Yong Kim announced that the World Bank would start reporting the greenhouse gas emissions of the projects it’s invested in next year, just days after a news report slammed them for failing to do so.
“This is an excellent step forward for the Bank and its efforts to be more transparent and accountable on climate commitments. However, we can’t ignore the fact that their portfolio is still cluttered with fossil fuel investments. Kim told ministers: ‘when it comes to climate change, we’re running out of time.’ We agree and are therefore baffled by the Bank’s continued risky lending. How much longer can we wait for the Bank to say no to such investments?"
The World Bank General Capital Increase:
“The World Bank will very soon need an injection of capital or else it might have to cut back on its lending at a time when it’s most needed. The Bank should keep emphasizing its financing to public health and education sectors, such as through the Human Capital Project that Kim recently announced, since those are sectors often ignored by competing institutions.
“If it’s going to successfully raise the funds needed, the Bank will need to prove it’s a leader in sustainable development. It will have to show it’s accountable to donors, client governments, and most importantly, the communities affected by its lending.”
On international tax policies:
“Despite high hopes at its launch, the Platform for the Collaboration on Tax has been slow to get off the ground. That said, the launch of the Medium-Term Revenue Strategy can be a seen as a sign of progress, especially if there is real accountability and engagement with stakeholders at the national level.
“Next year’s conference will be a make-or-break moment to see if the Platform can build real political support and live up to its full potential. Strong, global tax cooperation could end the harmful race-to-the-bottom, close international loopholes and help unlock billions of dollars stashed in tax havens. These resources could allow developing countries to fully fund their healthcare systems and provide quality education to every girl and boy."