Activists Expand World Bank Bonds Boycott on Eve of Summit

For Immediate Release

Contact:
Neil Watkins,

Tel: 202-393-6665, Cell: 202-421-1023

WASHINGTON (April 18, 2002) -- As the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings approach and protesters prepare demonstrations for April 20-21 in Washington, campaigners today announced growth of the World Bank Bonds Boycott campaign.

Africa Action, a merger of three leading Africa advocacy groups active in
the anti-Apartheid movement, released a position paper today, "Hazardous to
Health: The World Bank and IMF in Africa," and announced plans to work with
its networks to get boycott resolutions in city councils and religious
communities across the country as part of its campaign for Africa's right
to health.

"While the World Bank boasts of providing new loans for Africa's health and
other social sectors, its demands for debt repayment are suffocating the
continent. The World Bank gives with one hand and takes away with the
other," said Salih Booker, Executive Director of Africa Action.

Next week, organizers will publicly launch an effort to get the city of
Cambridge, Ma. to become the seventh U.S. city to adopt the boycott. On
Monday, April 22, BankBusters/Boston Global Action Network, a Boston-area
economic justice coalition, will hold a rally at Cambridge city hall to
announce the campaign. This development follows two major advancements in
the boycott campaign last month, including the launch of a continent-wide
European World Bank Boycott network with members from citizen groups in 13
countries, and the decision by city council in Milwaukee, Wis. to adopt the
boycott.

"With the passage of the World Bank Bonds Boycott here we have begun to
shed light on what the World Bank's policies of corporate globalization are
doing not only around the world but also in Milwaukee," said Milwaukee
Alderman Don Richards. "We are asking that the World Bank be scrutinized
and fundamentally reformed before any more Wisconsin State Investment funds
be entrusted to it."

Camille Chalmers, a member of the World Bank Bonds Boycott international
coordinating committee, and Executive Secretary of PAPDA, an alternative
development coalition in Haiti, said, "The policies of the World Bank and
IMF have contributed to the destabilization of the Haitian agricultural
sector, with a consequence of increased hunger and dependence in
Haiti. Social movements worldwide are realizing that the World Bank must
be replaced by more democratic structures. The World Bank Bonds Boycott
gives citizens an opportunity to challenge one of the most destructive
institutions in the world."

The World Bank Bonds Boycott campaign is based on the fact that the World
Bank raises a majority of funds by selling bonds. It is a growing global
initiative which puts pressure on the World Bank to make fundamental
changes. Since its launch by civil society groups from more than 30 global
South countries and the U.S. in April 2000, the campaign has gotten more
than four dozen institutional investors to commit not to buy World Bank
bonds, including city councils in Boulder, San Francisco, and Oakland, and
dozens of religious institutions and labor unions. Ten of the largest
socially responsible investment funds in the US, controlling more than
US$16 billion in assets, have also adopted the boycott.

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AMP Section Name:World Financial Institutions
  • 194 World Financial Institutions

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