To the Editor: I agree with federal NDP MP Ottawa Centre Paul Dewar's position on the World Bank failure in Africa. In fact, I think that beyond the poor results of the World Bank programs in this continent, we must look at the real role this major institution had played all over the world, with our money, over the last decades.
The current African and world situation has a clear cause. During the 1980s, the cereal markets were deregulated under the supervision of this same World Bank, and the United States and European Union cereal surpluses systematically destroyed the farming community and destabilized the national food agriculture of several developing countries.
The World Bank loans required the levying of the commercial barriers on the imports of basic farm products. This led to the dumping of American and European Union cereal surpluses on Third World local markets.
It is these measures and other similar ones, which led the agricultural producers of these countries to bankruptcy. For example, Malawi and Zimbabwe were previously countries with cereal surpluses, and Rwanda was practically self-sufficient in food until 1990, the year that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) ordered the dumping of the United States and European Union cereal surpluses on their internal market, therefore steering their small local farmers into bankruptcy.
In all Africa, but also in Southeast Asia and Latin America, the agricultural structural adjustments made under the supervision of the Bretton Woods institutions - the World Bank and the IMF - clearly led the way to the disappearance of food security. These countries then became dependent on the world market, what entailed an increase of the imports of commercial cereal as well as what we call boldly, food aid.
The current situation in Africa does not ensue from unpredictable events. It is the result of an inequitable economic system, which considers the private interest of the companies before the public interest of the populations. It is also the result of powerful countries, which continue to dominate other countries with tools like the World Bank, the IMF and, worse still, the World Trade Organization.
If we should strongly encourage Canadian food aid and medical help steered towards populations in need, we must also fight the unbridled capitalism, which leads to these situations. Before the freedom of companies, there is the freedom of all men and women in the world, and this freedom is set in fundamental rights such as the right for food and the right for health.