May 7th: Boycotting Bonds from the World Bank
Bank Boycott Europe
The World Bank Boycott www.worldbankboycott.org
is an international grassroots campaign that is building moral, political, and
financial pressure on the World Bank. The World Bank, the popular name for the
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, raises nearly all of its
funds by issuing bonds on the private capital market. Ordinary people, through
their pension funds, labour unions, churches, municipalities, universities and
private investments, are exerting considerable pressure for change on the World
Bank by refusing to buy its bonds.
The Boycott was initiated by 35 groups from
global South countries and the Centre for Economic Justice in Washington
in April 2000. Since then a
remarkable number of organisations have expressed their support and a wide
international network of non-governmental organisations is promoting the
campaign. The Boycott came to
Europe last year and the coordinators are visiting Britain on a speaking tour to
raise enthusiasm for effective local resistance to the Bank.
“Because the impact of neo-liberal globalisation is
global, we must respond at the same level.
The World Bank Bonds Boycott is one of the most important tactics we
have. We rely on the boycott
to build alliances with others who are challenging the World Bank." Bertha
Caceres, Executive Committee, Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations of
World Bank: Funding Global Apartheid
from the Poor? In 2001, the World Bank posted a profit of more
than $1.2 billion (Source: World Bank Annual Report, 2001)
per cent of World Bank lending finds its way back to corporations -- most of
which are based in the United States, Europe, and Japan -- via Bank contracts.
(Source: The Ecologist Report, September 2000)
to whom? The World Bank’s voting structure is based on a system
of one dollar, one vote. The G-7
governments control 43% of the voting rights.
Meanwhile, all the countries of sub-Saharan Africa combined have less
than seven percent of the vote. (Source: World Bank website,
World Bank, together with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), are the biggest
funders of a new global Apartheid, an international system of minority rule,
where the interests of the rich dominate over the needs of the poor, the
overwhelming majority of whom are people of colour.
World Bank policies force impoverished
countries to prioritise debt repayment over human need, diverting resources from
health, education, and clean water. Decades of World Bank lending in Africa have
undermined the continent’s public health system and have exacerbated the
HIV/AIDS pandemic. Meanwhile, the Bank makes it easier for companies to fire
workers and to change their labour laws to weaken the collective power of
workers. Poor women are losing ground in social and economic empowerment as a
consequence of these policies.
World Bank Bonds Boycott: A Tool to Challenge Corporate Globalisation
"The role of the World
Bank in Africa is a critical ethical issue. As a matter of conscience, people
should take action to register their disapproval with the World Bank's policies
by boycotting their bonds!" - Rev. Dr. Molefe Tsele, General Secretary of the South
African Council of Churches
Grassroots movements throughout the global South have long
been protesting the policies of the World Bank, the IMF, and the governments of
the rich countries that control these institutions.
These policies have rendered their societies poorer, more dependent, and
Across the globe, community groups, unions, and others are
struggling against the domestic effects of World Bank-style corporate
globalisation. These include
diminishing social services, the destruction of the welfare system, lower wages,
environmental degradation, and restrictive immigration policies. As corporations
grow in size and power, democracy the world over is being threatened
The World Bank Bonds Boycott is:
Education about globalisation. The boycott educates people
about the environmental and social impacts of IMF and World Bank policies in
low-income countries, as well as about the ricochet effects of globalisation in
high income countries.
Advocacy to reduce the World Bank’s power.
The boycott gives a rare opportunity for
the public to challenge the policies and reduce the power of an institution
which directly affects billions of lives; and
The campaign is helping revitalize democratic processes, organizing and
mobilizing people in ways that connect to economic justice struggles in their
own communities. Through the boycott, people are demanding accountability via
their tax contributions, union dues, church collection plate, and tuitions.
campaign calls on the World Bank to: