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The resignation of David Malpass, President of the Wolrd Bank, must boost actions and mobilizations towards the replacement / the demise of both the WB and the IMF in a context of acute climate and environmental crisis
by CADTM International
18 February 2023

David Malpass, President of the World Bank since April 2019, has announced his resignation on or before 30 June 2023. In the context of a major ecological and climatic crisis, which threatens all living beings on the planet - mainly in the so-called “Southern” countries - the CADTM recalls the need to abolish the IMF and the World Bank and to completely rethink the international financial architecture.

David Malpass, the 13th President of the World Bank, like his predecessors: he is an American citizen with ties to big financial capital.

David Malpass, the 13th President of the World Bank, like his predecessors: he is an American citizen with ties to big financial capital.

Washington has so far succeeded in imposing a precedence that is totally contrary to the spirit of the United Nations and to democracy: the post of President of the World Bank is reserved for an American appointed by the President of the United States.

Like most previous World Bank presidents [1], David Malpass has ties to big finance: after working for the US Treasury dealing with international affairs during the terms of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, David Malpass became chief economist of Bear Stearns, a large investment bank that failed in 2008, while he was still in office. In August 2007, Malpass published an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, in which he urged his readers not to worry about the state of the financial markets, going so far as to say that ’the housing and debt markets are not a significant part of the U.S. economy or job creation” [2].

David Malpass then joined Donald Trump’s team, as Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, before becoming President of the World Bank in 2019. Like Donald Trump, David Malpass is a climate sceptic. In October 2022, at a roundtable discussion organised by the New York Times, he refused to take a position on the role of fossil fuels in global warming, arguing that he was ’not a scientist’ [3].

Read also : Banque mondiale, une histoire critique

At a time of ecological and climate emergency when all economies should be geared towards protecting natural resources, reducing air pollution and fighting inequality [4], the president of the World Bank - an institution that distributes loans, that finances projects in the so-called ’South’ - was not convinced by the role of fossil fuels in global warming... This is extremely serious.

Nor did David Malpass question the World Bank’s scandalous voting system, which effectively gives the US a veto on every major decision. The US has 15.47% of the voting rights for every decision taken by the IBRD [5]. For a decision to be adopted, it must receive 85% of the votes. No decision can be adopted without the agreement of the United States. No decision of the World Bank (or the IMF) can be contrary to the interests of the United States.

Call for a global counter-summit of social movements to the IMF-WB Annual Meetings to be held in Marrakech from 9 to 15 October 2023

This system puts the World Bank and the IMF institutions at the service of an international oligarchy composed of ’great powers’ and multinational companies whose interests are almost systematically defended by Western governments. The decisions taken by these two international institutions since their creation have proven this. They have:

  • supported and financed the development of a productivist and extractivist policy that is destructive to nature and peoples
  • put in place policies that encourage speculation and land and water grabbing, of which the populations of the South are the main victims
  • reinforced patriarchal domination, particularly through support for micro-credit, which is a real burden for those targeted, the majority of whom are women
  • actively supported many dictatorships
  • imposed structural adjustment policies in the form of conditionalities favourable to creditors in exchange for the loans they distribute (privatisations, reforms of the Labour and mining and forestry codes, opening up of economies to foreign capital, specialisation of economies in export monocultures, etc.)
  • sabotaged democratic and progressive experiments (Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1944, Joao Goulart in Brazil in 1964, Salvador Allende in 1973 in Chile and more recently supporting Sisi dictatorship in Egypt) by closing access to funds and then financing the dictatorships that were imposed with Washington’s support.

As the US has a veto over any meaningful decision, these institutions will not change from within. They will continue to grant loans in exchange for imposed conditionalities that reinforce and deregulate capitalism, increase social and gender inequalities and worsen the climate and ecological crisis. The CADTM International network therefore calls for:

  • the strengthening of actions and mobilisations against the Bretton Woods institutions, towards a united front of the countries of the South against the repayment of illegitimate debts, towards the abolition of these institutions and of the capitalist, patriarchal and extractivist system
  • a counter-summit of social movements to the IMF-WB Annual Meetings to be held in Marrakech from 9 to 15 October 2023
  • the cancellation of debts to the IMF and the World Bank
  • the prosecution of World Bank directors
  • the establishment of a new international financial architecture.
  • The replacement of the current World Bank by regionalised Banks that would distribute loans at very low or zero interest rates to finance projects that respect social and environmental standards and fundamental human rights. This new World Bank structure must be the instrument of an exit from the capitalist system, which is harmful to the countries of the ’South’, promotes patriarchal structures, attacks the living conditions of the majority of the world’s populations who must exit from extractivism and effectuate an urgent ecological bifurcation.

Footnotes :

[1Alden W. Clausen was President of the Bank of America before becoming President of the World Bank (1981-1986), Robert Zoelick held a key position at Goldman Sachs before becoming head of the WB from 2007 to 2012, after resigning as President of the WB in 2019, Jim Yong Kim joined a private equity fund.

[2 « Housing and debt markets are not that big a part of the U.S. economy, or of job creation...the housing- and debt-market corrections will probably add to the length of the U.S. economic expansion. » Cité par Jordan Weissmann, « Trump Taps Bear Stearns Economist Who Said Not to Worry About Credit Crisis for Key Treasury Job », 5 January 2017

[3Julien Bouissou, « Derrière la démission de David Malpass, la question du rôle de la Banque mondiale face aux crises économique et climatique », Le Monde, 16/02/2023, (in French) (in French)

[4Because the richest are the biggest polluters. In 2020, Oxfam and the Stockholm Environment Institute showed that the richest 1% generated more emissions than the poorest half of humanity.
T. Gore (2020), Tackling the Inequities of CO2 Emissions: Climate Justice at the Heart of the Post-Covid-19 Recovery. Oxfam. https://

[5“ International Bank for Reconstruction and Development Subscriptions and voting power of member countries”, World Bank,

CADTM International