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African States are Asking More Loudly, Why they have a Weak Voice at the IMF and the World Bank

There will be no shortage of bigwigs in Paris on June 22nd at a development finance pow-wow hosted by Emmanuel Macron, France’s president, to discuss pressing global issues including World Bank reform, climate finance and debt distress. Among those attending the Summit for a New Global Financial Pact will be no fewer than 16 African presidents. Africa’s large presence reflects a fear that the continent is being short-changed as priorities shift towards helping Ukraine and dealing with climate change. That is feeding a deeper anger—that the continent has too little say in global institutions such as the World Bank, IMF and UN, and that some of the proposed reforms could again leave Africa out in the cold. Africans are also trying to push talks about international taxation from the OECD into the un, where they have a voice. And they have demanded more of a say in global debt discussions, which remain dominated by creditors. Africa’s most ambitious geopolitical demand is for reform of the UN Security Council. Roughly half of all Security Council meetings discuss Africa. Yet the 15-member council—comprising five veto-wielding permanent members and ten rotating members—has just three rotating seats for African countries.