How much do the lives of ordinary Africans matter to Africa’s “development partners”? Not much, if one goes by a resent statement by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) regarding their dealings with the government of Sudan, whose President Al Bashir is a fugitive wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes in the western region of Darfur.
Last week, the IMF and World Bank discussed Sudan’s external debt on the sidelines of the 2013 IMF-World Bank Group Annual Meetings, with delegations from the governments of Sudan and South Sudan.
The meeting took place just a few weeks after about 300 peaceful demonstrators were butchered in Khartoum by state-sponsored militias during marches to oppose IMF-approved austerity measures imposed by the government including a removal of oil subsidies, which has led to a steep rise in the cost of living.
Hundreds of other protesters were injured in the confrontations and, activitsts say, possibly 2,000 people were are arrested and many of them are still being held in detention.
Ignoring all this brutal state repression, the participants at the IMF/Wordl Bank meeting said they were “encouraged by the recent progress in implementing the provisions of the 2012 Bilateral Cooperation Agreement,” “including the recent implementation of difficult reform measures”. They also called on Sudan to maintain the reform momentum, continue the technical work, including the establishment of a track record of policy reforms with the IMF and stepped up outreach efforts towards creditors.
How the debt under discussion has been used by the Khartoum regime over the years was, obviously, not a matter for discussion. Nor were the consequences of the “policy reforms” on the lives of ordinary Sudanese citizens.
Notably, Mr. Edward Gemayel, the IMF’s Mission Chief for Sudan stated that “Sudan has a long track record of implementing sustainable economic policies.”
For IMF and World Bank, it is business with creditor nations like Sudan that matters, and not whether the money obtained from the “development partners” could be used to buy arms and pay state hired thugs to murder peaceful protesters exercising their right to freedom of expression.
“Does the IMF think that bloody crackdowns on demonstrators in Sudan are irrelevant in assessing Khartoum’s economic performance?” wonders Sudan analyst Eric Reeves.
“It is difficult to tell here whether cynicism or mendacity is greater, or even distinguishable. In any event, the message to Khartoum’s génocidaires is clear: ‘do what you must to meet our benchmarks.’”
Here are shocking photographs of the recent brutal crackdown in Khartoum, Omdurman and other nearby areas. WARNING: THE IMAGES ARE VERY BLOODY: (http://www.sndfca.org/crimes).