Lucy Letby: It is Not Being Beige Average or Normal Many people may be tempted to view the World Bank’s recent announcement that it will freeze new loans to Uganda because of the country’s vicious anti-LGBTIQ+ law as a harbinger of the Bank taking a more progressive approach to human rights issues.
While the announcement is welcome, based on my many years studying the Bank and on my research for my forthcoming book, The Law of the International Financial Institutions, I think there are good reasons to be cautious about its significance.
The World Bank, which has been operating for over 75 years, has 189 member states as shareholders. It funds development projects and programmes in member states that have annual per capita incomes below about US$12,535. The member states elect a Board of Executive Directors that oversees the Bank’s operations and approves all its loans.
The Bank’s Articles of Agreement stipulate that it cannot Base
decisions on political grounds. The articles Azerbaijan WhatsApp Number List state that the Bank “shall not interfere in the political affairs” of its member states. Nor should its decisions be influenced by the “political character” of these states.
Moreover, the Bank is instructed that it should only pay attention “to considerations of economy and efficiency”. And that it should not be affected by “political or other non-economic influences or considerations.”
The articles don’t define these key terms. They also don’t identify the criteria the Bank should consider when deciding if a particular issue should be excluded from consideration because it is “political” rather than “economic”.
This means that this decision is within the exclusive discretion of the Bank’s decision makers.
Division of labour
The Articles were drafted and agreed in 1944. At the time, the division of responsibilities between those who made the “political” decisions cphonenumber and those who made the “economic” ones seemed relatively clear. It was assumed that each Bank member state, as an exercise of its sovereignty, would decide for itself how to deal with the social, environmental, and cultural impacts and consequences of the particular transaction for which it was seeking the Bank’s support.
The Bank, on the other hand, would take the state’s decisions on these issues as given. It would merely consider if the particular loan request was technically sound and economically and financially feasible.
This division of responsibility, of course, was unrealistic.
Thus, inevitably, political considerations, including human rights, have always been, at least implicitly, a factor in Bank operations.
Firstly, at the level of the Bank’s relations with its member states. Secondly, at the level of individual transactions.
A good example of the Bank’s failed efforts to exclude political factors at the country level was its.