Passage 67 IMf World Bank Protest
Protests have been taking place this week in Washington against the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Major actions are planned Sunday and Monday.
The aim is to stop the meeting of finance ministers and central bank officials at the I-M-F and World Bank headquarters.
A coalition of several hundred groups hoped to bring as many as 20,000 protesters to Washington.
These groups protested at the meeting of the World Trade Organization in Seattle last year.
The potesters say the I-M-F and World Bank are hurting people in poorf
developing countries.The protesters want the organizations to cut the huge amount of money owed by these countries.
They say the money saved on debt payments could be used for health care,education and protection of the environment.
The United States and its allies created the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank after World War Two.
Most of the countries in the world are members.
The two organizations control thousands of millions of dollars in assistance
The I-M-F and the World Bank have a close relationship but different responskbilities.
The main job of the International Monetary Fund is to support world economic growth.
The I-M-F provides money to help countries deal with short-term difficulties.
These loans often come with unpopular demands for economic changes.
I-M-F officials also also advise on financial policy.
The World Bank provides loans to governments and private organizationsThe World Bank provides loans to governments and private organizations
for development projects.
These include projects to develop transportation,health and education systems
The World Bank is the leading provider of development assistance.
It also makes loans to restructure national economic systems.
Protest organizers say the I-M-F and the World Bank represent the interests of big business and the very rich.
And,they say these organizations defend the interests of major industrial countries.
Many officials at the Washington meetings agree that the debts of the poorest countries should be cancelled.
However,the issue is not so simple.
The World Bank and other lenders say they need to berepaid in some way so they can make future loans.
Also,creditors do not want governments to take the money saved
from debt forgiveness and use it for military purposes or bad investments.
Last year,industrial nations agreed to cancel up to 29,000,000,000 dollars of debt owed by as many as forty-one countries.
So far,only three--Bolivia,Mauritania and Uganda
have received major reductions.
World Bank President James Wolfensohn says the bank hopes to have 60,000,000,000 dollars of debt
from twenty countries cancelled by the end of this year.
And,he says he believes the protests like those in Washington show concerns about the changing world economy.