Category: Multilateral Development Banks (Foreign Aid)

MDB “knowledge” banks

Former IMF chief economist Kenneth Rogoff says “far too little attention has been devoted to understanding why multilateral development lending has so often failed”. In his experience, MDBs are most valuable as “knowledge” banks — sharing soft development infrastructure such as experience and best practices rather than financial muscle. The latter, he says, has led to their “greatest failures”.

Fire on the water

(April 25, 2014) Lake Turkana, the world’s largest desert lake, has held water for at least five million years and is also known as the cradle of mankind for its abundance of hominid fossils, but may now suffer the same dry fate as the Aral Sea in central Asia thanks to hydro-electric development that ties neighbours Ethiopia and Kenya together. Writer Ben Rawlence looks here at how regional power plays can work against accountability and how the complexity of large projects and the many actors involved with them militates against holding anyone to account.

Indigenous leader killed in resistance fight over Honduras mega-dam

(July 17, 2013) Tomás Garcia, a leader of the indigenous Lenca community in Honduras, was fatally shot on Monday, and his son Alan seriously injured, when members of the Honduran Army began firing indiscriminately at a demonstration protesting the construction of the 22-megawatt Agua Zarca Dam already underway on the Gualcaeque River in the country’s southwest. International Rivers reports.

The dying days of the Pygmy people

(October 1, 2012) This article on the crisis facing Pygmy tribes in the Congolese rainforest by anthropologist Geoffrey Clarfield underscores the crucial relationship between property rights and human rights. For the last decade, competing militias have terrorized the Pygmies of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, while in the Central African Republic (CAR) they face losing much of their traditional hunting areas to logging. The government, the World Bank, the EU, the Chinese and most of the large development organizations believe that the CAR can only “develop” its economy by cutting down its rainforest and selling the timber. Without recognized property rights, Pygmies are being forced from their forest homes, dispossessed of the lands they have stewarded and lived in for 40,000 years.