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Manuel urges IMF not to divide African department

2nd June 2003


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South Africa’s Finance Minister Trevor Manuel has cautioned his fellow African counterparts to be vigilant against any move by giant international financial institutions to divide the African nations.

Manuel’s caution during his opening address to the African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, over the weekend, follows concerns by African countries over the reform that is taking place at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) regarding Africa.

The minister said it was of tremendous concern to Africans that the IMF was currently considering dividing its African department into two.

“Will it be along old colonial lines, or into north and south?” he asked.

“We don't know. What we know, is that Europe is not being divided, nor is America. Europe is in fact being unified as the former Eastern Europe joins into the European Union,” he explained.

He said it was time for decisions in the IMF to no longer be imposed on Africans, but to derive from consultation with Africans.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi echoed the same sentiment, saying the IMF had a role to play in Africa's development to avoid the risk of “pushing Africa into the ghettos of the international financial system”.

He said the gathering of Africans ought to find ways to make the IMF work better for Africa's needs, a move which Manuel said had to be advanced for effective partnership between the continent and international institutions. Economic Commission for Africa executive secretary, K Y Amoako, stressed the need for Africa to think beyond the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative and come up with “new policies, instruments and initiatives that could constitute the next step in the international community's efforts to reduce Africa's debt burden.” – BuaNews.


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