Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The EBRD is a bank that has nothing to do with development and everything to do with colonialism

Here some important words about the work of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development: While structural adjustment and market liberalisation were hugely beneficial for foreign corporations and wealthy Egyptians (in 2008 Egypt was named the top reformer in the World Bank’s Doing Business survey), it devastated Egypt's economy and induced outrageous social symptoms. The phenomenon of street children, for instance, began during the Mubarak era - children living on the streets, working at shining shoes, collecting garbage, begging, cleaning, parking cars, selling food, and highly vulnerable to being forced into a string of illicit activities. Western development banks are now lining up to re-enter Egypt or in the case of the EBRD, to enter Egypt and other north African countries in a highly ambitious extension of its founding mandate that saw it focusing purely on the central and eastern European states since its founding in 1991. An EBRD Technical Assessment, made public earlier this year, identifies the following operational themes to 'guide a potential engagement by the bank in Egypt': ... It's certainly easier to claim, as the bank's president Thomas Mirow regularly does, that parallels between post '89 central and eastern Europe and the Arab Spring leave the EBRD very well placed to intervene now in a different continent. Yet are there so many close parallels? ... the post-revolution mass privatisation drive that took place in eastern Europe has recently been strongly criticised by sociologists from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University. Their study - “Mass Privatization, State Capacity, and Economic Growth in Post-Communist Countries” - published in April this year claims to be the first to trace a “direct link” between the mass privatisation programs of the early 1990s and the “economic failure and corruption that followed.” ... Lawrence King, one of the study authors, commented on its release: “Rapid and extensive privatization is being promoted by some economists to resolve the current debt crisis in the West and to achieve reform in Middle Eastern and North African economies. This paper shows the most radical privatization in history failed the countries it was meant to help.” This text by Laila Iskander goes on here