World Bank: The Enemy Friend [Archives:2001/37/Focus]

September 10 2001

Sami Saeed
So many things have been said about the World Bank. Some people fight it fiercely, while some only suspect it and some others might welcome it to gain temporary interests.
The World Bank was founded as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development of the the United Nations. Its proclaimed purposes seemed to be good. It lends not only to governments money in order to conduct developmental works but offers them also technical help.
Although the WB stated principles are entirely humanitarian, many people among the public opinion have suspicion and refuse its gifts.
Why do the public refuse an entity that is offering them money and help? Is it because of its complicated procedures and unusual conditions imposed upon the governments according to each strength and knowledge? Could the suspicion be present because the WB is controlled by the United States? Could the financial offer and help be only something hostile?
No rational explanation would satisfy the questioner. All over the world, the widespread rumors claim that the UN’s financial organization leaves sadness and destruction in the nations it seems to help.
The World Bank policies applied in the Republic of Yemen should also raise suspicion. Let alone 99% of the projects conducted in the country are never related to the real concepts of development. The conditions that the Bank is imposing on the Yemeni government are interfering with its sovereignty and national policies.
The World Bank uses the population’ needs for civil services in order to appear as the sole savior of the poor nations. No doubt that the population living in rural regions desperately needs a medical unit and a school. They would achieve their dream life just by being given water supply and drainage system.
However, does this guarantee the comprehensive development dreamed by the nations?
The small medical unit serving a group of people now needs to be expanded to coincide with the population growth. Otherwise, we should control growth to fit with the available civil services.
The more a nation grows the more development projects it needs. With what kind of policies and programs the World Bank has provided Yemen’s government to meet the future demands?
The so-called developmental projects conducted by the World Bank in Yemen seem to have no clear productive effects that should enable the government to repay its debts.
The result is only the expansion of the scope of consumption and nothing else.
Had the World Bank focused on boosting agriculture in the country as the first step towards industrialization, the people’s opinion would have changed.
No one could deny with logic that such projects would go in the direction of national development desired by all. The industrial projects based on cultivation to produce raw materials are really vital and could help us to construct our projects of civil services as well as to repay our debts. This could lead to standing on a solid ground not drowning under moisture.
Suspicion, little hope, rumors mystery should accompany the World Bank wherever it is involved. No one could refuse nor accept its help with complete satisfaction.
It should be rewarded with hostility and chased by suspect and rumors. It is the enemy friend or the friend enemy or both together.