Africa: Calls for Change to Bretton Woods Voting Structure
Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)
30 July 2007
Posted to the web 30 July 2007
A draft memorandum addressed to the heads of the World Bank and the IMF, under discussion in Maputo at the meeting of the “African Caucus” of Finance Ministers that began on Monday, calls for an increase in the representation and voting power of Africa in the two Bretton Woods Institutions.
The memorandum warns that “the role and effectiveness of the IMF has been weakened by a continued erosion of voice of African countries in decision making in the Fund, lack of diversity in staffing at all levels and inadequate staff resources in the offices of Executive Directors representing Africa in the fund”.
As for the World Bank, the African Caucus fears that “the voice of African countries has been shrinking over the decades, mainly due to diminishing importance of the basic votes in the voting power”.
The voting system in the Bank is weighted in terms of wealth. The richer a country is, the more shares it has in the World Bank, and the more votes. There are two categories of vote.
One is linked to money, and the other, the “basic vote” is allocated as an entitlement of membership.
The complaints of the Caucus can only be understood in the knowledge that the “basic vote” has fallen from 10 per cent of total votes in 1970 to less than two per cent now. 98 per cent of votes at the Bank are determined by how rich a country is, as measured by how many shares it holds in the bank.
Each country has 250 basic votes. One of the [continue reading]