The IMF released a report today on the Bolivian economy in which it recommends adopting drastic neoliberal measures, including; reducing workers’ salaries, cutting public investments, and ending currency controls. These policies have turned Bolivia from one of the poorest countries in the region into it’s fastest-growing economy. The report takes aim at the government’s spending on development, saying, “The government must restrict spending, including eliminating the end of year wage bonus for workers, they must restrict the growth of wages for public sector workers, and limit the growth of public investment and subsidies.” The ‘end-of-year wage bonus’ for workers (in both the public and private sector) refers to a policy introduced under Evo Morales that requires employers to pay their workers a bonus equal to double their monthly wage, but only if annual GDP growth is over 4.5%.
The government of Ghana has initiated talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a potential bailout program. A delegation of the IMF concluded a week-long visit to Accra on July 13 and met with officials including Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta and Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia. The proposal has been severely criticized by the Ghanaian left, especially the Socialist Movement of Ghana (SMG), and trade unions. In a statement released after the visit, IMF Mission Chief Carlo Sdralevich stated, “The IMF team held initial discussions on a comprehensive reform package to restore macroeconomic stability and anchor debt sustainability…The discussions focused on improving fiscal balances in a sustainable way while protecting the vulnerable and poor; ensuring credibility of the monetary policy and exchange rate regimes; preserving financial sector stability; and designing reforms to enhance growth, create jobs, and strengthen governance.”
Paris, France - Climate activists on Monday blocked entry to the International Monetary Fund's Paris office with some gluing their hands to its doors, demanding developing countries' debt be scrapped to help tackle climate change. The Paris protest is part of a "Debt for climate" global campaign calling on wealthy-nation leaders attending the G7 summit in Germany to cancel the debts of poorer and less industrialized countries, known as the global south. While low-emitting countries in the global south contribute the least to climate change, they tend to be the hardest-hit by the consequences, experts say. "We need to give these countries the resources to fight against the climate crisis.
In early March, Argentina’s government came to an Agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a $45 billion deal to shore up its shaky finances. This deal was motivated by the government’s need to pay a $2.8 billion instalment on a $57 billion IMF stand-by loan taken out under former President Mauricio Macri in 2018. This loan – the largest loan in the financial institution’s history – sharpened divides in Argentinian society. The following year, the Macri administration was ousted in elections by the center-left Frente de Todos coalition which campaigned on a sharp anti-austerity, anti-IMF program. When President Alberto Fernández took office in December 2019, he refused the final $13 billion tranche of the IMF’s loan package, a move applauded by large sections of Argentinian society.
The crush of people began at the 9 de Julio subway stop downtown, less than a block from the Buenos Aires obelisk, the city’s most recognizable monument. By 5:00 p.m. on February 8, thousands from over 100 trade unions, human rights organizations and student groups had blocked the main thoroughfare to protest a preliminary agreement between the Peronist, center-left government of Argentinian President Alberto Fernández and the International Monetary Fund. Amid a cacophony of competing drumbeats, demonstrators along Roque Saenz Peña bore signs that read “With the IMF, we return to the bottom,” “The IMF is poverty and unemployment,” and “Enough of austerity.”
Argentina is trapped in $44 billion of IMF odious debt taken on by corrupt right-wing regimes. Seeking alternatives to US hegemony, President Alberto Fernández traveled to Russia and China, forming an alliance with the Eurasian powers, joining the Belt and Road Initiative.
The President of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, today visited the Kremlin and told President Vladimir Putin that his country wants to end “dependency” on the US and strengthen economic ties with Russia instead. Fernández told Putin “Argentina, in particular, is experiencing a very special situation as a result of its indebtedness and the economic situation that I had to inherit. From the 1990s onwards, Argentina has always looked towards the United States. Now, the Argentinian economy depends a lot on the debt it has with the United States, with the IMF, and the role that the US has within the IMF.” The President added, “The context is very favorable to deepen the links between Russia and Argentina. We have to see a way for Argentina to become a gateway for Russia in Latin America”.
The enormous economic dislocation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic offers a unique opportunity to fundamentally alter the structure of society, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) if using the crisis to implement near-permanent austerity measures across the world. 76 of the 91 loans it has negotiated with 81 nations since the beginning of the worldwide pandemic in March have come attached with demands that countries adopt measures such as deep cuts to public services and pensions — measures that will undoubtedly entail privatization, wage freezes or cuts, or the firing of public sector workers like doctors, nurses, teachers and firefighters.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has released its June 2020 update. The prognosis is bleak. Global growth for 2020 is projected at -4.9%, 1.9% below the IMF’s forecast from April. ‘The COVID-19 pandemic has had a more negative impact on activity in the first half of 2020 than anticipated’, acknowledges the IMF. Forecasts for 2021 are somewhat optimistic, sitting at 5.4%, which is higher than the 3.4% the IMF predicted in January 2020. ‘The adverse impact on low-income households is particularly acute’, says the IMF. Poverty reduction is effectively off the agenda. The World Bank’s recent report takes a dim view, with 2020 growth forecast at -5.2%, predicting the deepest global recession in eight decades. The World Bank’s expectation of growth for 2021 is at 4.2%, lower than the IMF’s 5.4% prediction.
Unions, students, teachers, workers, and social organizations took to the streets in Quito as others followed from home in several cities Monday with a pot-banging protest. In Quito, Cuenca, and Guayaquil the protesters challenged the restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and took the streets to demand the withdrawal of the measures, and also to defend public education, health, and labor rights. Central Workers' Organization (CUT) President Richard Gomez declared the demonstrators will remain in constant mobilization until their purpose is achieved.
If you are using one of the many coronavirus incidence trackers, the Pacific country of Ecuador does not seem to be particularly badly affected by COVID-19. Officially, the country has less than 7,500 cases and 333 deaths. But everybody knows this number is nonsense, including President Lenín Moreno, who freely admitted that authorities were collecting over 100 dead bodies a day from Guayaquil city alone, the epicenter of the pandemic tormenting his country. Ecuador’s limited state has essentially collapsed under the strain of COVID-19, with dozens of videos circulating showing dead bodies left in the streets, with no one to collect them. The country has already run out of coffins, so corpses are buried in cardboard boxes or simply left in trucking containers.
The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic could push half a billion more people into poverty unless urgent action is taken to bail out developing countries, said Oxfam today. The agency is calling on world leaders to agree an ‘Economic Rescue Package for All’ to keep poor countries and poor communities afloat, ahead of key meetings of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and G20 Finance Ministers’ next week. Oxfam’s new report ‘Dignity Not Destitution’ presents fresh analysis which suggests between six and eight percent of the global population could be forced into poverty as governments shut down entire economies to manage the spread of the virus. This could set back the fight against poverty by a decade, and as much as 30 years in some regions such as sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa.
Earlier this month, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) blocked a request from Venezuela for an emergency loan to deal with the COVID–19 pandemic on the grounds that President Nicolas Maduro “lacked recognition.” “IMF engagement with member countries is predicated on official government recognition by the international community, as reflected in the IMF’s membership. There is no clarity on recognition at this time,” a spokesperson for the international banking organization said. In fact, around 150 countries recognize Maduro, including the vast majority of UN member states. Indeed, the UN itself has endorsed him, even placing Venezuela on the Human Rights Council. Crucially, however, the United States government has not.
This week, multilateral organizations such as the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) have supported Venezuela in its fight against the spread of the new coronavirus (Covid-19), in the midst of the US unilaterally imposed economic and financial blockade. The first organization to express its support for Venezuela was the EU, when on Monday, March 23, it supported the requests for aid made by Iran and Venezuela to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), countries that face an analogous situation of criminal blockade through coercive unilateral sanctions. Josep Borrell, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy,” the two countries are in a very difficult situation especially because of US sanctions that prevent them from obtaining resources from the sale of oil,” as quoted by Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza by international media.