The World Bank is one of the powerful and influential international financial institutions in the present world. The other institution is the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The World Bank is the world’s leading institution for public development programs in such countries. According to Stein (2008), the institutions lent more than US $24 billion in the year 2007. The World Bank is the main source where less developed, developing, or most third world countries obtain financial loans to finance various development programs in their economies. Even though is an international financial institution, the body is controlled by riches countries in the world such as the US.
This countries, which comprise a group of seven rich countries acting in their own interest by promoting an economic model that favors them. They have the greatest decision in matters concerning the distribution of loans to poor countries. Even though the World Bank has spearheaded development programs in various, its programs have come under intense criticism for several years because they mostly result in the increase in poverty cases in the recipient nations (Stein, 2008). In particular, the World Bank was initially established to enhance steady economic growth and create employment for poor countries by providing loans to crisis faced economies as well as establishing programs to ensure exchange rates are stable and also facilitate the exchange of currency. However, its policies have changed from what they were initially intended for. As a result, the World Bank development programs have a negative impact on the poorest of the poor in the very countries the bank reports to help.
The World Bank imposes conditions on the borrowing countries before awarding loans to them which has been an issue of concern. It commonly attaches strict loan conditions that are based on the ‘Washington Consensus’ focused on the liberalization of investment, trade, as well as the financial sector which includes privatization and deregulation of nationalized industries. In most cases, the conditions for the loan are attached while disregarding the economic circumstances of the borrowing country resulting in the prescriptive recommendations provided by the World Bank failing to resolve the country’s economic problems (Stein, 2008). Additionally, the World Bank has forced many poor countries to embrace the “structural adjustment programs” (SAP) as well as other measures that help in reducing the spending by the governments in basic public services. The World Bank requires this governments to reduce the trade obstacles and open up their markets and industries, maintaining their economies to serve as source of cheap raw materials as well as cheap and available labor for multinational corporations (Stein, 2008). Such policy of the World Bank has resulted in the decline of the average incomes in poor countries resulting in the increase in poverty. Furthermore, the debt crisis has got worse for the past two decades since the failure by the World Bank to intervene has made such countries to rely on new loans more than ever.
World Bank development programs have a negative impact on the poorest of the poor in the very countries the bank reports to help by undermining health through imposing policies that harm the health care progress in such countries (Johnson, 2010). The World Bank’s forceful reductions in health care spending in poor countries especially in Africa as well as the forcing poor countries to private the provision of basic health care services has left people from poor countries to become and exposed to vulnerable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Malaria, Cholera, tuberculosis, and other health care issues related to poverty such high mortality rate and malnutrition. According to information by both the external and internal observers, the World Bank’s neoliberal policies including those of its sister financial institutions such as the IMF have worsened or provoked dire health conditions and attendant health care impacts in poor countries. According to Birn (2005), the World Bank’s responsibility in global health issues remains unaddressed. Additionally, there has been concerns that some of the programs funded by the World Bank in collaboration with the private might undermine the responsibility of the government of poor nations as the main provider of necessary services such as education and health care resulting in the drop of the services where they are required.
The World Bank development programs have also come under criticism for funding some types of development projects that have negative environmental and social implications among the populations. Many of the infrastructure projects funded by the World have been criticized for not taking ethical considerations and the environmental impacts on the surrounding people (Stein, 2008). For instance, a number of large-scale construction of hydroelectric dams funded by the World Bank in several developing countries has caused many people to be displaced from the areas, leading to suffering and homelessness for the people (Johnson, 2010). In addition, the role of the World Bank to finance global climate change architecture has raised much controversy.
In a nutshell, the World Bank development programs have a negative impact on the poorest of the poor in the very countries the bank reports to help. This is because, the World Bank imposes conditions on the borrowing countries before awarding loans to them which has been an issue of concern, undermining health through imposing policies that harm the health care progress in such countries, and for funding some types of development projects that have negative environmental and social implications among the populations. Several countries especially in Africa have significantly been affected economically, which has led to most of them remaining poor. Therefore, there is need to leverage the policies of the World Bank to ensure equal benefit in terms of economic progress among the members of the World Bank.