FORUM 2000, Prague – World Bank, IMF, WTO and USAID — the South’s unelected governments

As a Delegate to the Forum 2000 held in Czechoslovakia in 2002

[Najma Sadeque – Pakistan
Writer, journalist and researcher on socio-economic issues.

 Pakistani writer, journalist and researcher on socio-economic issues. Founding member of the Women’s Action Forum of Pakistan. Founder and Executive Committee member of Shirkat Gah, the first women’s rights-oriented development organisation in Pakistan. She is also associated with the Panos Environmental Institute.]

Transcripts > Plenary Session, part 2

Josef Jařab
Thank you very much, Mr. Chambrier, for the very specific and concrete notes. Let me just say that the list of people that I do have would, however, only come to the halfway mark if we do not keep it to five minutes or less. Our next speaker is Madam Najma Sadeque and then Ricardo Navarro.

Najma Sadeque
Thank you. You know among activist circles in the country that I come from Pakistan, which tends to get global attention only in the most unfortunate ways. When things aren’t going too well, which is most of the time, we console ourselves by pointing to the overwhelming odds we face. We say, “Just look, we have three governments: the World Bank/IMF, we have the U.S. government and we have the government we didn’t elect.” That is not a very easy situation to deal with.

The IMF spoke of reforming itself and didn’t really specify how. It is very nice to do self-analysis, but how about listening to how we think you should reform yourselves? Allow me to give you a few ideas.

First and foremost, you need to be transparent and accountable, which you are not. Then, you have no business lending to non-representative governments and expect the taxpaying citizens to pay it off because we constantly hear this excuse: “We deal with governments.” That is fine, but deal with governments that have been elected, because when you make loans to governments without allowing public debate and without the people making their choices, what you are in essence doing is propping up corrupt government. You are not only allowing corruption, you are actively engaging in strengthening them and allowing them to browbeat their citizenry. That is simply not on. You have no business to do that; no private bank can do that. Everyone has to show their accounts, and you have to be accountable to the people who have to pay you back with interest.

There is no time to go into length and breadth about the harm you have done to us, and I think everybody knows it so I don’t really have to. Your reform does not include compensation for the damage you have done to hundreds of millions of lives the world over. I would like to point out that the problems we have, and countries like ours, are very basic, and what you tend to do when you float all kinds of ideas about how to reinvent the wheel is that you promote “let them eat cake” types of economies. We can do without that, we can really do without that. In fact, we can do without you. You have the right to exist, and I acknowledge that, as a business organization. I do not see the IMF/World Bank as a development organization at all because if you were, you wouldn’t be looking the other way when people starve and societies collapse, our indigenous ideas and technologies and our ways of life are shattered. You are not a development bank; there are no two ways about it. You can call a rose a rose or a cactus. You have to understand that we do not share your vision of how development should be. You can give an idea, you can share it with us, and we can decide what we would like to take, whether the time is right, because all of us do not develop at the same rate for whatever the historical reasons are. There is a time for everything, and the right time for one country is not always right for another at any given point in time; it varies. Therefore, we would like you to remember that your road is a very optional and non-essential one, and it should be done with our leave.

The WTO has not been spoken of, and I would just like to say that we perceive the WTO as an organization that demands the right to take what belongs to other people, which is worse than what the IMF and the World Bank are doing. We have a very easy, simple way of looking at how the imbalance exists in the world, and all we have to do is look at the flow of resources from the South to the North and the North to the South. Not only the volume and the value, but also the nature of it, because what should be feeding us and nurturing us is being taken away from us to prop up wasteful, non-essential ways of life. Thank you.

Opening ceremony at Narodni Muzeum_jpg–part-2/#najma_sadeque


About denebsumbul

Documentarian, Activist, Journalist, Photographer, Capacity Trainer
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