Saturday, December 16, 2006

Oxfam calls World Bank report 'inconsistent'

By Mattias Creffier

BRUSSELS - By 2030, 1.2 billion people in developing countries will belong to a global middle class, up from 400 million today, and the increase in wealth will make income inequality and environmental pressures more acute, predicts the World Bank in a new report.

In the next 25 years, growth in the global economy will be powered increasingly by developing countries, notably in Asia, the report says. Global output will rise from US$35 trillion in 2005 to $72 trillion in 2030. Overall, developing countries' share in global output will increase from about one-fifth of the world economy to nearly one-third, the report predicts.

[. . .]

For Oxfam's Etienne De Belder, the World Bank's policy guidelines show an appalling lack of consistency. "Countries that followed the export-driven model of development which the bank proposes were left with a social and economical hangover. Just look at the pauperization in sub-Saharan Africa or the deforestation in Indonesia."

The World Bank is not learning from the past and is in a poor position to give lessons for the future, said De Belder. "You can't have economical deregulation and at the same time ask for more rules to solve ecological and social problems. Local entrepreneurs in Africa are not ready to stand up to global competition. As long as the inequalities persist, there cannot be beneficial free trade between equal parties."

De Belder added: "India's and China's successes in boosting exports and reducing poverty are mainly due to their huge internal markets. Smaller developing countries have to look for different strategies."


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