Conditionality in World Bank crisis-lending to Ghana

With a fifty year history of involvement in key sectors of Ghana’s economy, the World Bank continues to maintain an influential position in the country.

The World Bank continues to influence developing country economic policies through placing conditions on loan agreements, despite concrete commitments by the Bank to significantly reduce the economic policy reforms required for the receipt of Bank funds in order to ensure an increase in recipient country policy space.

What is new, however, are the more discreet channels of influence. This briefing finds that the conditions for the receipt of loans are increasingly being pushed in through the side door, for example by being stipulated outside of the loan agreement itself in side documents and letters, contravening responsible financing principles.

This briefing assesses the conditions attached to World Bank crisis loans for Ghana in 2009, as well as the policy reforms that Ghana has committed to implement as stipulated in the “Letter for development policy”.

This research reveals that Low Income Countries such as Ghana remain under the influence of the Bank, especially regarding the management of their primary industries and natural resources and in relation to the design of sensitive policy areas such as fiscal policy and public sector reform.

This briefing concludes that many of the Bank’s conditions impede on Ghana’s sovereign right to decide independently on appropriate measures to recover from the global crisis and to boost long term sustainable development. If the Bank is committed to improving developing countries’ ownership over their development pathways, its practices need to be aligned to its promises allowing developing countries their legitimate right to decide on their future.