IMF Fudges on Ireland
& Democracy, on Africa's Reduced Votes,
December 2 -- At the IMF's press briefing on December 2,
spokesperson Caroline Atkinson took question after question about
Ireland while deferring answers on the Maldives and East African
Community and ignoring questions submitted about IMF chief Dominique
Strauss Kahn's statement that his successor should come from outside
the US or EU.
IMF talks much
about governance reform, but even under its much hyped recent
changes, Africa as a continent will see its voting share drop from
5.9 per cent to 5.6 per cent. Inner City Press asked Thursday about
this, and this was one question Ms. Atkinson took. She referred to
“dynamic and emerging” economies -- apparently not in Africa --
but said that lower income countries would also have their voices
had submitted this simple question: “In light of Mr Strauss Kahn's
statement that next IMF chief should come from outside the US and EU,
is he going to formally propose that to the Board or any other step?”
The question was not taken or acknowledged. We'll see.
despite massive protests and statements
by the opposition that they
are not bound by the deal with the IMF, Ms. Atkinson said that the
IMF had “discussions with the major, uh, the opposition parties”
and was “satisfied” enough to present the deal to the IMF
what does this
mean? Are successive governments bound by IMF deals? Inner City Press
had first submitted this question: “on Ireland, what is the IMF's
position on approvals needed inside the country?” But the question
was neither taken nor even acknowledged.
Protest in Ireland of IMF deal, democracy & answers not shown
Also on democracy, Ms. Atkinson was asked about Ukraine's
President vetoing an IMF suggested tax increase due to protest. Ms.
Atkinson said she hadn't heard of it, but would provide information
later if she did. Inner City Press had asked it. So again, we'll see.
* * *
Changes, Spin War Emerges, IMF Role in Debt of Sudan
18 -- After the International Monetary Fund's board
agreed on November 5 to move six percent of powers to developing
countries, the IMF says that “most commentary was positive.”
Inner City Press asked UN Assistant Secretary-General for
Economic Affairs Jomo Kwame Sundaram about it on November 16, he said
that two thirds of the six percent comes from “other developing
countries,” and that the quota system should be further reformed.
biweekly briefing on November 18, Inner City Press asked IMF
spokesperson Caroline Atkinson about this criticism. She said she
wasn't aware of it (since “most commentary was positive”) and
argued that 80% came from “advanced economies” and the rest from
“a small number of oil producing” countries which she said are
technically classified as developing.
said that of the 187 members, 110 countries saw their quotas
increase, 102 of them emerging and dynamic countries -- another
euphemism for developing?
different views of the changes turn on how one defines developing.
While the UN often mis-classifies these, to rely entirely on the IMF
to assess the seriousness of IMF reforms also seems unwise.
also submitted two country specific question, the first of which on
Sudan Ms. Atkinson read out and acknowledged, promising a later
Hillary Clinton and the UK's William Hague on Nov 16 said
they are in talks about reducing the national debt as an incentive
for the Southern Sudan secession referendum scheduled for January 9.
Is the IMF involved in any such talks? Can the IMF play any role in
reducing Sudan's debt?
UK's Hague and US Clinton, on Sudan debt talks, IMF not shown
of Congo, what is the IMF's reaction to the
shortfall in Paris Club debt reduction (“82.4 percent reduction of
Congo's debt stock, short of the 90 percent target”) and to the
pace of reforms in the DRC?