Arab Today, arab today imf world bank policies may share blame in ebola crisis
Last Updated : GMT 02:10:10
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

IMF, World Bank policies may share blame in Ebola crisis

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today IMF, World Bank policies may share blame in Ebola crisis

Guinea President Alpha Conde
Washington - AFP

Alpha Conde, the president of Guinea, was stunned.
In front of him, Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, had just called for an increase in the country's budget deficit so that it could battle Ebola -- a complete reversal from the Fund's orthodox view that deficits must be closed.
"The IMF doesn't say that very often," Lagarde admitted later. "It is good to increase the fiscal deficit when it's a matter of curing the people."
Conde, whose country is one of three in West Africa hit hard by the epidemic, called it "quite a change from the usual narrative."
That exchange, at the beginning of October in Washington, represented both the evolution and longstanding ambiguities in how the IMF and the World Bank help the world's poorest countries.
The two powerful development institutions have loosened their purse strings to help fight Ebola, which has killed more than 5,100 people mainly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone since early this year.
But at the same time they are accused of having weakened public health services in West Africa as they imposed rigorous controls on borrower country budgets.
The IMF's responsibility "is obvious" said Olivier Bouchard, a specialist in infectious disease at Avicenne hospital near Paris.
"Though that must be tempered with the knowledge that the leaders of the countries themselves always had the choice to emphasize one expenditure or another... and waste less," he added.
- Hands tied -
The accusation arises from the IMF's "structural adjustment" programs of the 1980s and 1990s, which tied loans to strict budget regimes, and might have resulted in cuts to health spending.
"These arrangements tied the hands of governments so that when there were disease outbreaks, they didn't have the resources in place to control them," said David Stuckler, Professor of Political Economy at Oxford.
According to his research covering 1996-2006, expenditures on health care in countries under IMF programs grew at about half the speed of those not beholden to the Fund.
As for the World Bank, health expert Mohga Kamal-Yanni of the anti-poverty group Oxfam pointed at the way its promotion of health care user fees diminished the role of the state in delivering services.
The result in the countries hit by Ebola, she said, is "no health workers, no health units, no available medicine."
"Our systems were left worse off by the difficulty to invest in social services and particularly in health," Dede Ahoefa Ekoue, Togo's Minister of Social Action, told AFP. Togo is responsible for coordinating the anti-Ebola fight in West Africa.
The criticisms aren't new. In 2002 Nobel prize winner Joseph Stiglitz accused the IMF of having forced Thailand to chop its health spending during the Asian crisis of 1987-88, risking undermining the country's fight against HIV. The IMF though rejected his accusations as "especially pernicious."
Years later, the debate remains alive.
Amanda Glassman, director of Global Health Policy at the Center for Global Development, was not ready to blame the two Washington-based institutions.
"The external world thinks that IMF and World Bank have much more influence that they actually do," she said.
According to Glassman, conflicts and bad governance were more responsible for the weakening of health spending in the sub-Sahara region, which fell from 6.9 percent of GDP in 2005 to 6.5 percent in  2012.
- New flexibility? -
Both institutions argue that they have changed their policies and become more flexible.
"Structural adjustment? That was before my time, I have no idea what it is. We don't do that any more," Lagarde said in April when asked about aid to Guinea.
An IMF spokesman argued that without a Fund program, a financially struggling government "would have to face more difficult choices."
"Since 2009, loans from the IMF to low-income countries have been at zero interest rate, which has freed up resources for countries to spend more on health and education," he told AFP.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, a medical doctor, specialized in infectious disease, has reinforced the bank's focus on poverty and health since he took charge two years ago.
"Over the past five years, the World Bank Group has shifted its strategy in health, nutrition and population to focus on supporting countries to strengthen their health systems," said a spokesman.
Both also cite their quick mobilization against the current Ebola outbreak.
The World Bank has set out $1 billion to support health for the affected countries, while the IMF has offered $430 million in loans and debt alleviation.
But some still hold doubts. According to Kamal-Yanni, despite the changes in the institutions' headquarters, "it's sometimes harder to see the effects on the ground."

arabstoday
arabstoday

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today imf world bank policies may share blame in ebola crisis Arab Today, arab today imf world bank policies may share blame in ebola crisis

 



Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today imf world bank policies may share blame in ebola crisis Arab Today, arab today imf world bank policies may share blame in ebola crisis

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Youssra depended on colored foam

GMT 16:53 2017 Tuesday ,05 September

Youssra depended on colored foam
Arab Today, arab today EasyJet, Lufthansa among seven to bid

GMT 06:49 2017 Tuesday ,17 October

EasyJet, Lufthansa among seven to bid
Arab Today, arab today Etiquette expert underlines importance of gifts

GMT 17:52 2017 Sunday ,03 September

Etiquette expert underlines importance of gifts
Arab Today, arab today Fighters celebrate Raqa victory

GMT 06:07 2017 Wednesday ,18 October

Fighters celebrate Raqa victory
Arab Today, arab today Hiring not part of Alibaba pledge

GMT 11:26 2017 Wednesday ,18 October

Hiring not part of Alibaba pledge
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Sidem reveals plan to improve education

GMT 15:52 2017 Friday ,06 October

Sidem reveals plan to improve education
Arab Today, arab today British actress becomes fifth woman

GMT 18:15 2017 Monday ,16 October

British actress becomes fifth woman
Arab Today, arab today Climate-disrupting volcanoes helped topple

GMT 16:00 2017 Wednesday ,18 October

Climate-disrupting volcanoes helped topple
Arab Today, arab today The history of solar eclipses

GMT 05:16 2017 Sunday ,20 August

The history of solar eclipses
Arab Today, arab today Mercedes says recalls 400,000 UK cars

GMT 06:56 2017 Tuesday ,17 October

Mercedes says recalls 400,000 UK cars
Arab Today, arab today Britain's Vauxhall to cut 400 jobs

GMT 10:53 2017 Sunday ,15 October

Britain's Vauxhall to cut 400 jobs
Arab Today, arab today Dalal Abdel Aziz happy for “Seventh Neighbor”

GMT 09:31 2017 Monday ,16 October

Dalal Abdel Aziz happy for “Seventh Neighbor”
Arab Today, arab today Three killed, 360,000 without power

GMT 05:11 2017 Tuesday ,17 October

Three killed, 360,000 without power

GMT 12:33 2017 Friday ,13 October

Anoshka happy for reactions to her talk show

GMT 10:37 2017 Thursday ,12 October

Cara Delevingne accuses Weinstein

GMT 16:53 2017 Saturday ,02 September

Mai importance of gifts during Eid Al-Adha

GMT 18:49 2017 Monday ,16 October

India to close colonial-era military farms

GMT 10:46 2017 Saturday ,05 August

Nanis reveals simple ideas for home renovation

GMT 23:42 2017 Monday ,16 October

Better Marriages Make

GMT 07:02 2017 Sunday ,15 October

German minister sparks uproar

GMT 17:12 2017 Monday ,07 August

Al-Shawaifi reveals secrets of total solar eclipse

GMT 03:59 2017 Sunday ,15 October

US mobile carriers Sprint, T-Mobile to merge

GMT 11:37 2017 Saturday ,12 August

Fashion designer reveals her new collection
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday