Rep. McKinney Asks Treasury Secretary O'Neill To Rein In The IMF and World Bank In Mozambique
Washington DC - As the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank convene for their Spring Meetings in Washington, DC, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney released a letter to Secretary Treasury O'Neill calling on the Treasury Department to use its influence with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to stop these institutions from undermining Mozambique's cashew nut processing industry.
The letter, signed by twenty-one Members of Congress, asserts that "the IMF's continued obstruction of Mozambique's democratically determined economic development policies" is an "abuse of the authority and resources granted to the IMF by the United States."
The letter asks O'Neill "to instruct the United States Executive Directors at the IMF and the World Bank to communicate that it is the policy of the United States that the IMF and the World Bank should cease obstructing Mozambique's efforts to rehabilitate its cashew industry."
The controversial policy of the two institutions in Mozambique was the subject of an article in September in the Washington Post. The IMF and the World Bank have insisted that the cashew nut industry, once one of the largest private sector employers, be dismantled as a condition of debt relief and new loans.
"It's ludicrous that the World Bank and the IMF are imposing poverty and joblessness and dependency on the Mozambican people. It's long past time for Congress to assert its authority over U.S. policy at these institutions," McKinney said today. "It's outrageous that these institutions, largely funded by the U.S. taxpayer, impose misguided economic policies on developing countries that have never been approved or even debated by the U.S. Congress."
April 26, 2001
Mr. Paul H. O'Neill Secretary
Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue
NW Washington, DC 20220
Dear Secretary O'Neill:
As you are no doubt aware, in the last several years Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have become increasingly dissatisfied with the policies promoted and imposed by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in developing countries, using U.S. tax dollars.
One particular case stands out: for the last several years, the IMF and the World Bank have undermined Mozambique's efforts to rehabilitate its cashew nut processing industry. As a result, thousands of workers have lost their jobs in an industry that was once one of the largest private sector employers. Production has shifted to India, which uses child labor to shell the nuts.
Ironically, the United States is a major market for processed cashew, so that as a result of the IMF/World Bank intervention, U.S. consumers are subsidizing child labor. For years the World Bank persisted in pressuring Mozambique to remove support for its cashew industry, despite opposition to the World Bank policy by Mozambique's democratically elected parliament and despite the fact that a study commissioned by the World Bank indicated that the World Bank's policy was unsound.
Last year, the new head of the IMF, Horst Kohler, promised that IMF policies would change, that the IMF would stop imposing policies on developing countries that have nothing to do with the IMF's core mission. Unfortunately, like so much rhetoric in the past concerning "reform" at the international financial institutions, it is far from clear that the change in rhetoric has been matched by a change in reality.
Recent reports indicate that the IMF is still pressuring Mozambique to remove support for its cashew industry.
We regard the IMF's continued obstruction of Mozambique's democratically determined economic development policies to be an abuse of the authority and resources granted to the IMF by the United States.
We ask you to instruct the United States Executive Directors at the IMF and the World Bank to communicate that it is the policy of the United States that the IMF and the World Bank should cease obstructing Mozambique's efforts to rehabilitate its cashew industry.
Member Of Congress
Bernie Sanders, Member of Congress
Peter DeFazio, Member Of Congress
Rob Andrews ,Member of Congress
Lane Evans, Member Of Congress
Eleanor Holmes-Norton, Member of Congress
Julia Carson, Member Of Congress
Dennis Kucinich, Member of Congress
Barbara Lee, Member Of Congress
Danny Davis ,Member of Congress
Bob Filner, Member of Congress
Albert Wynn, Member of Congress
Maxine Waters, Members Of Congress
William Lacy Clay, Member of Congress
David Bonior, Member Of Congress
Donald Payne, Member of Congress
Earl Hilliard, Member Of Congress
Jan Schakowsky, Member of Congress
Bennie Thompson, Member Of Congress
Tammy Baldwin, Member of Congress
Neil Abercrombie, Member of Congress
Wednesday, May 2, 2001