The CADTM holds seven successful workshops at the World Social Forum in Kathmandu (Nepal)

21 February by CADTM International , Maxime Perriot

After two days marked by the opening march of the World Social Forum in Kathmandu and two very successful workshops with 100 and 50 participants respectively, the CADTM International delegation organised or co-organised five new workshops on 17 and 18 February 2024.

These activities were a great success, bringing together a large audience and many Nepalese people. Numerous contacts were also made by the CADTM team on the ground, which augurs well for the future.

International Monetary Fund
Along with the World Bank, the IMF was founded on the day the Bretton Woods Agreements were signed. Its first mission was to support the new system of standard exchange rates.

When the Bretton Wood fixed rates system came to an end in 1971, the main function of the IMF became that of being both policeman and fireman for global capital: it acts as policeman when it enforces its Structural Adjustment Policies and as fireman when it steps in to help out governments in risk of defaulting on debt repayments.

As for the World Bank, a weighted voting system operates: depending on the amount paid as contribution by each member state. 85% of the votes is required to modify the IMF Charter (which means that the USA with 17,68% % of the votes has a de facto veto on any change).

The institution is dominated by five countries: the United States (16,74%), Japan (6,23%), Germany (5,81%), France (4,29%) and the UK (4,29%).
The other 183 member countries are divided into groups led by one country. The most important one (6,57% of the votes) is led by Belgium. The least important group of countries (1,55% of the votes) is led by Gabon and brings together African countries.
/World Bank World Bank
The World Bank was founded as part of the new international monetary system set up at Bretton Woods in 1944. Its capital is provided by member states’ contributions and loans on the international money markets. It financed public and private projects in Third World and East European countries.

It consists of several closely associated institutions, among which :

1. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, 189 members in 2017), which provides loans in productive sectors such as farming or energy ;

2. The International Development Association (IDA, 159 members in 1997), which provides less advanced countries with long-term loans (35-40 years) at very low interest (1%) ;

3. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which provides both loan and equity finance for business ventures in developing countries.

As Third World Debt gets worse, the World Bank (along with the IMF) tends to adopt a macro-economic perspective. For instance, it enforces adjustment policies that are intended to balance heavily indebted countries’ payments. The World Bank advises those countries that have to undergo the IMF’s therapy on such matters as how to reduce budget deficits, round up savings, enduce foreign investors to settle within their borders, or free prices and exchange rates.

80 years is enough: the cases of Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kenya, Ukraine and Argentina

David Otieno (Ligue des paysan·nes kenyan·es & CADTM Afrique de l’Est)

On Saturday 17 February 2024, at 9 am, a workshop was held on the immense damage caused by the IMF and the World Bank in the Global South. Farooq Tariq (Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee), David Otieno (League of Kenyan Peasants & CADTM East Africa) and Amali Wedagedara (CADTM South Asia) successively analysed the policies of the two international financial institutions in Pakistan, Kenya and Sri Lanka. Farooq Tariq and David Otieno focused in particular on the inflation in gas prices as a result of the IMF’s conditionalities, which issued loans to these troubled countries in exchange for cuts in subsidies for basic necessities. The workshop was attended by 30 people.

 Climate justice and ecological debt

Melani Gunathilaka (Debt for climate)

A few hours later, a workshop on climate justice and ecological debt was co-organised by Debt for Climate, ATTAC France and CADTM. It was attended by 30 people. Maxime Perriot (CADTM International) opened the session with a statistical analysis of the ecological debt owed to the Global South by the North, and particularly by the richest countries in the North. Melani Gunathilaka (Debt for Climate) then went on to provide precise illustrations of the ecological debt in Sri Lanka, mentioning in particular the major useless and polluting projects financed by international financial institutions that have caused the country’s debt to swell enormously. Husnain Jamil Faridi (Asia Europe People’s Forum) did the same for Pakistan. He lamented about numerous floods that have hit the population in recent decades. Raouf Mohamed (Debt for Climate), who attended COP 28 in Dubai, spoke about the false solutions promoted by green capitalism at this international meeting. Finally, Ian Vidal (ATTAC France) focused his speech on action and the need to mobilise on a daily basis to fight the capitalist system. The interventions were followed by a wide-ranging discussion with the participants.

All the speakers called for the cancellation of the debts of the countries of the South and the payment of reparations.

 New development bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and other new creditors

This workshop, which brought together some twenty participants, featured an analysis by Patrick Bond Bond A bond is a stake in a debt issued by a company or governmental body. The holder of the bond, the creditor, is entitled to interest and reimbursement of the principal. If the company is listed, the holder can also sell the bond on a stock-exchange. (University of Johannesburg, Centre for Social Change) of the BRICS BRICS The term BRICS (an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) was first used in 2001 by Jim O’Neill, then an economist at Goldman Sachs. The strong economic growth of these countries, combined with their important geopolitical position (these 5 countries bring together almost half the world’s population on 4 continents and almost a quarter of the world’s GDP) make the BRICS major players in international economic and financial activities. New Development Bank. He explained why we can speak of sub-imperialism when it comes to the BRICS, whose behaviour is not really any different from that of Western countries. The presentation was followed by a debate with Éric Toussaint, Abdul Khaliq and David Otieno.

Also read : The BRICS Johannesburg summit’s hype, hope and helplessness

 Presentation of the book, “The World Bank: a critical history”

Éric Toussaint (CADTM International)

The presentation of the book “World Bank: A Critical History”, which brought together around 20 people, was introduced by Amali Wedagedara (CADTM South Asia), who focused on the harmful policies imposed by the World Bank in Sri Lanka. Solange Koné (CADTM Africa - World March of Women) took the same approach with regard to Ivory Coast. Éric Toussaint then reviewed some of the arguments developed in the book, pointing out in particular that all the Presidents of the World Bank have been American men, and that Ajay Banga, former CEO of Mastercard and President of the World Bank for the past year, is no exception.

Amali Wedagedara (CADTM Asie du Sud) & Solange Koné (CADTM International & Marche mondiale des femmes)

 The debt crisis, food sovereignty and climate change

Co-organised by CADTM, the World Council of Churches (WCC), GRAIN, Debt for Climate, Faith and Justice Network, Fight Inequality Alliance, KHANI and the Kenyan Peasant League, this event focused on the links between the debt crisis, food sovereignty and climate change. Afsar Jafri (GRAIN), David Otieno (Kenyan Peasant League), Tolbert Thomas Jallah (Liberia, Faith and Justice Network), Jenny Ricks (South Africa, FIA), Raouf Ben Med Goffa (Tunisia, Debt for Climate), Philip Vinod Peacock (India/Germany, World Council of Reformed Churches), Umme Salma Poppy (KHANI- Food Security Network, Bangladesh) all made valuable contributions. Around 50 people attended the event.

Éric Toussaint also represented the CADTM at a plenary session entitled “Capitalism, authoritarianism, resistance and alternatives”. He spoke about the forthcoming major mobilisations.


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