Articles and Analysies
The World Bank and NGOs in Southern Sudan: Keeping Poverty For Expatriate Benefit *By James Okuk
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Apr 5, 2008 - 8:52:48 AM

The World Bank and NGOs in Southern Sudan : Keeping Poverty For Expatriate Benefit

* By James Okuk


The World Bank and many NGOs in Southern Sudan are part of the designed continual impoverishment of the locals. The NGOs love crisis and they rush in wherever trouble splash with pretext of mitigating the effects of tragedies and disasters. Darfur is a hot case in point here. The World Bank loves post-war traps and they rush in wherever the war ends to complement the pretext of NGOs lifeline operations. They are not yet in Darfur but probably will rush there once the war ends if negotiations succeed. But it has been observed that the NGOs and the World Bank are never sincere developmental partners in the Less Developed Countries (LDCs). They are never pro-poor in their implementation results though they look like in their wonderful strategic proposals for humanitarian assistance and poverty reduction. They are only pro-rich in their implementation indicators because their Euro-American centric management style has only worked in the Developed Countries (DCs). They do not revere Ethics of Care and Preferential Option for the good of the poor in their so-called international standards.


If you remind the World Bank and those NGOs of ‘Ethics of Care’ for the sake of least advantaged people they will tell you to go to Popes, Cardinals, Bishops or Priests in Vatican or Canterbury . They will also dislike you if you try to urge them for commitment in continuous community development. They tarnish the image of a government which opposes them and rejects to be puppeteered as a Satellite State . They love to be “Lords of Poverty” in the LDCs and masters of prosperity in DCs. That is why they spent more money on Poverty Surveys around the world to discover more poverty colonies. Their Millennium Poverty Goals (MPGs) are targeted to control the poor countries in socio-economic development so that those countries remain decadent for the service of the master giants. Thus, so far, their individualistic and private capitalistic propagations have been detrimental to African heritage of communalism. They only acknowledge African Cultures for Tourism business but nothing more. This mission has been attracting the locals to slums in urban cities where they develop a dangerous “culture of poverty”.


In Southern Sudan , many NGOs and the World Bank have been operating daily to ensure that poverty continues so that they also continue with their lucrative salaries and investments from the fund that is supposed to lift the poor Southerners out of the unfortunate situation of civil war effects. They say that the Southern Sudanese are not qualified and experienced to do the World Bank and NGOs job professionally. But this is only a justification for making them stay in the job without interference of the locals in what is going on in their closed and security tied offices. They frequently fly in and out of Southern Sudan with laptops on their shoulders and without control from the local government of how much they are spending on those chartered or ticketed flights. They have never been with the people nor will they be for the people because they are not from the people of Southern Sudan . They appear and disappear like ancient gods but only to exploit the poverty situation for their opportunistic selfishness. In other words, they do their looting business of the poverty dollars and Euros without any transparent check or verification from the local authorities in Southern Sudan . They enjoy the darkness and the mists that have befallen Southern Sudan , so far and so bad, where you can steal public good without any risk of getting seen, caught and shamed.


In 2005 in a conference, I asked the NGOs to show the Southern Sudanese the school of experience and consultancy and take them there if there is any.  They couldn’t respond to me. I told them unless they are looking for 'qualification-and-experience-in-looting-poverty-money' there are so many Southerners qualified and experienced for those jobs, even with a possible excellent performance for the concrete realization of the written proposals in tangible things without lies. I told them that their 'quick start' – with which they convinced the donors to deliver quick money – is a strategy for a quick looting in collaboration with some rug Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) whom they used as cosmetic for ‘Southernization’ of NGOs’ opportunities in Southern Sudan. They were disappointed with me and never invited me to their consultative meetings again.  


The World Bank and IMF are known for their failures, particularly with the Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) in the LDCs. Even their acclaimed case of successful micro-finance credit for poverty reduction in Bangladesh is a crude propaganda. Those who know Bangladesh can tell you how masses of people are continually tormented by the red fangs of poverty in spite of Nobel Prizes which were worn in their name. Also the World Bank case of Kenya K-REP is another lie for their success in Poverty Reduction in that country. If you see Kabera and other slums in Nairobi you will prove me right. The World Bank and its associates use those instances of destitution for tourism attraction whose benefits goes to the commercial managers of tourism industry. Not only that, but the World Bank justification of the 2007 proposal for developing the private sector in Southern Sudan with micro-finance credit from the Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) is another big pretence.


It is part of the World Bank lobby for a lean government that led to retrenchment of the powerless workers from public institutions like the case of Upper Nile State . There so many workers were dismissed without giving them their dues and early retirement benefits. The few who remain are paid meagre monthly salaries (not more than 50 US $) a month and on consolidation basis in Chapter One. Once so many workers have been dismissed to streets, the World Bank will be happy to see them vulnerable for cheap and exploitative labour in the private sector of Southern Sudan . Surely, this Bank is entrapping more Southerners into poverty rather than empowering them against it.


The astute Bretten Woods International Bank for Reconstruction and Development is a wrong and sadistic institution in Southern Sudan . Its purpose is to weaken the government in favour of strengthening the private sector, which is controlled and directed by the Western World Giants. The World Bank management of the MDTF for reconstruction and development of Southern Sudan in the post war period has generated nothing substantial and progressive for three years now. The World Bank has made sure that bureaucracy for releasing the money for use by the locals is very slow. This is because the World Bank is very professional in doing the proper work of a bank. This Bank continues to invest and make interests from use, transaction and exchange of the MDTF idle money at their custody. It is known that the World Bank managers do not care about development in LDCs unless they have a good gain out of it. Part of their gain in Southern Sudan is the impunity of corruption and cheating crimes.


The Vice President of Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) has been complaining of the World Bank foot-dragging but nobody hears him. Instead, many Southerners condemn his cry for help out of this hurdle. The media is intensively exaggerating the demise of GoSS in the corruption snares and have never paid attention to the other side of the coin. The World Bank and the NGOs are very happy with this selective demonization because it gives them a better chance to justify their continuation for the custody of Southern Sudan development fund. The more they are given the custody of the poverty fund, the better they gain additional profits from the delay of what is supposed to be done. Hence, they hate efficiency from the locals. But regrettably, some blind Southerners are saying that these international professional looters should continue to patronize GoSS development fund even to the extent of handing the GoSS to the UN for a proposed interim period of ten to fifteen years. No doubt, this is a blind call for extension and continuation of the prevalence of poverty for those extended years.


Many NGOs are also known for their professionalism in cheating the donors in the name of the poor. They know how to appeal to the kind-hearted individuals, companies and governments by exaggerating the poverty indicators or war stigma for sympathetic fundraising. But do not forget that many NGOs operating in Southern Sudan are known to be very professional in diverting poverty fund into their rich private accounts using a magic ring of accountancy: cheat the poor and the ignorance and convince the donors with a ghost report but do not be discovered or caught.


The unforgivable part of this cold robbery – in the name of humanitarianism and assistance in development – is the accomplicement of some of our government top officials in this darkness business. They accept ‘bribe-for-silence’ from those international institutions; bribes to allow them to loot Southern Sudan rightful wealth without any fear of being expelled or shame-listed. Terrible and God help us!


However, one day one time when the light of righteousness starts to shine in South Sudan to dispel the current mist of mismanagement of public goods and rights, those who have contributed to the persistence of the vicious poverty when there was opportunity to eradicate it will pay the price. Let them enjoy the booty of their loots in the darkness but they shall never escape in the light of virtuous change which is coming with the next generation of independent peaceful South Sudan . By then the nutritious white milk from the black cow will trickle down to the real owners; the impoverished communities. The new generation have known it well that Southern Sudan will never be developed by neo-colonialists who are only loyal to the economic giants of the World, and in fact, their economic security agents. The young generation have known better that it is the Southerners who can develop themselves self-reliantly and interdependently.


*The author is a PhD student in the University of Nairobi . He can be reached at: [email protected]

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