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The World Bank should not fund Ethiopia’s war in Tigray

Alex de Waal encourages the World Bank and IMF to use their leverage to end war and starvation in Tigray, via his op-ed in Financial Times.

This month, Ethiopia, a low-income country facing economic difficulties, is making its case for a financial bailout at the spring meetings of the World Bank and IMF.

It is also conducting a war of starvation in the northern Tigray region. Week by week soldiers are destroying everything essential to sustain life — food and farms, clinics and hospitals, water supplies.

How should the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development treat a government engaged in widespread and systematic destruction and impoverishment, not to mention killing and rape? Bank staff don’t like to make political judgments, but in this case the directors — representing the shareholders including the US and UK — cannot shirk their obligation to acknowledge the political realities in Ethiopia.

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The directors of the World Bank and IMF cannot shy away from these hard issues when they consider Ethiopian requests for additional funds over the coming weeks. They should not fund Ethiopia’s self-destruction, but instead use their leverage to insist on an end to war and starvation.

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