East Africa: Region to Fight for World Bank Seat

Lawrence Maingi
Nairobi — East Africa member countries are to form
a common front in the fight to secure nomination
to the recently created third African seat
in the World Bank Group.
The position was created as an additional African chair
to the current two as a way of increasing fairer
allocation of board seats but more so
to endear the bank to countries on the continent.
The move by the financier is part of the wider reforms
meant to shift the World Bank and the
International Monetary Fund power
from developed countries
to their developing counterparts.
This, the bank says, will go towards increasing
its effectiveness and making it
accountable to less developed countries.
"We have agreed on the need for concerted effort
to fight together...," said Kenya's Deputy
Prime Minister and Minister for Finance
Uhuru Kenyatta citing a meeting held
by the East African Community ministers.
Mr Kenyatta was addressing a joint press
conference with other East African Community
member countries' Finance ministers
and central bank governors
in Istanbul, Turkey after
the 2009 IMF/World Bank annual meeting.
Developing nations are pushing
developed countries to cede at least
5 per cent of IMF voting and at least
three in the World Bank to go to
the under-represented
countries - mostly in China, India and Brazil.
According to World Bank President Robert Zoellick
and the IMF managing director Dominique Klauss-Khan,
the third seat should help Africa push
for increased regional infrastructural funding programmes.

Raised concern

African leaders attending the AGM had
raised concern that their infrastructure development
is being under-funded resulting to its products
becoming less competitive in the global market.
The leaders noted that though the continent needs
to invest at least Sh3.2 trillion ($40 billion) annually
to develop its infrastructure, it is only getting
a merger Sh480 million ($6 million)
from its traditional overseas development partners.


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