ALONGSIDE creating the UN system in the aftermath of WWII, the global community also attempted to create an international mechanism to manage the world economy and address the problem pf poverty.

This year marks 75 years since the IMF and the World  Bank were created, marking it a good time to assess their legacy.

The IMF's basic purpose is to foster global monetary cooperation and financial stability while the World Bank takes upon itself the responsibility to create sustainable economic growth and help reduce poverty around world.

Both provide financial assistance to poorer countries through concessional lending which often comes with advice on how developing countries can best manage their economics to achieve long-term stablisation, growth and poverty alleviation.

The overall record of the IMF and World Bank in helping create macro-economic stability and alleviating poverty remains mixed at best.

The World Bank claims that that global poverty has decreased significantly in the past few decades, but others point to the vast inequalities in the world where 1% of the population owns half the world's wealth.

In recent years, the IMF has been criticised for exacerbating the Southeast Asia financial crisis in the late 1990s, and for being unable to avert the 2008 global financial crisis.

Debt campaigners further accuse the IMF of reckless lending.  The IMF has extended nearly $93 billion in loans to developing countries with little capacity to repay them.

IMF and World Bank prescriptions of austerity, a reduction of public-sector spending, regressive taxation, widespread deregulation, subsidy cuts and privatisation often do not help indebted countries emerge from the debt trap.

The case of Argentina is one example where combine IMF and World Bank policies did little to boost sustainable growth or address the root causes of indebtedness.

The IMF is thus blamed for being primarily concerned with protecting the interest of creditors, increasing its own lending portfolio, rather than helping developing countries.

The World Bank's external debt portfolio for low-income and middle income countries  also continues to rise.

The World Bank's structural adjustment programmes, which curb public spending and promote the privatisation of essential services including the provision of health and education, have also evoked much irk.

The honor and serving of the latest global operational research on IMF and World Bank, legacies and future, continues. The World Students Society thanks author S M Ali, a development anthropologist.


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