Governance-Related Conditionalities Of The International Financial Institutions
This paper examines the new found enthusiasm for governance-related conditionalities in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank lending. This new agenda has focussed in particular on legislative and institution-building efforts by borrowers to increase accountability, transparency, the rule of law, and participation. The paper attempts to document this trend by analyzing a sample of 25 upper-tranche arrangements in 1999. A review of past efforts to impose conditionality in related areas provides a discouraging background to this even more ambitious attempt by the international financial institutions (IFIs) at governmental and social re-engineering. Critical weaknesses in the new agenda are highlighted, particularly the complexity and potential conflicts that follow from a multiplication of goals, and also the distortions and ineffectiveness that result from a narrow focus on borrower governments, to the exclusion of private actors and civil society, who are also part of the problem. A brief account of some alternatives to conditionality, as currently practised, are also examined. Finally, the paper raises some troubling implications of this new agenda for the IFIs themselves, especially with regard to their operational effectiveness, their legitimacy and their fairness.
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