Spring Meetings 2002
Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the IMF
Côte d'Ivoire and the IMF
Democratic Republic of the Congo and the IMF
Republic of Congo and the IMF
Ghana and the IMF
Liberia and the IMF
Tanzania and the IMF
Zambia and the IMF
The IMF and Good Governance -- A Factsheet
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International Monetary Fund|
African Finance Ministers
Saturday, April 20, 2002
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Mr. YAW OSAFO-MAAFO, Minister of Finance and Economy of Ghana
Mr. EMMANUEL KASONDE, Minister of Finance of Zambia
Mr. PAUL BOUABRE, Minister of Finance of Cote d'Ivoire
Mr. JEAN CLAUDE MASSANGU MULONGO, Governor of the Central Bank of the Democratic Republic of Congo
Mr. DAUDI BALLALI, Governor of the Central Bank of TanzaniaProceedings:
MS. FOUDA: Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. I'm Lucie Mboto Fouda from the External Relations Department of the IMF, and I would like to welcome all of you to this press conference of the African ministers of finance.
As you may know, the Managing Director of the IMF will be visiting a few African countries starting next week. Those countries include Ghana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Cote d'Ivoire, and Burkina Faso. We have invitees from some of those countries at this head table.
Before I introduce you our guests today, I would like, as usual, to go through a few housekeeping issues. Please, before asking your question, identify yourself as well as your outlet. Simultaneous translation facilities are available. The ministers will be able to use the language in which they feel comfortable.
Now, let me introduce you our guests. We have to my right is Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, the Minister of Finance and Economy of Ghana. To his right is Mr. Jean-Claude Massangu Mulongo, who is the Governor of the Central Bank of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and next to Mr. Massangu is Mr. Daudi Ballali, the Governor of the Central Bank of Tanzania.
To my left, we have Mr. Paul Bouabre, who is the Minister of Finance of Côte d'Ivoire and next to him, Mr. Emmanuel Kasonde, the Minister of Finance of Zambia.
Now, I would like to ask the Minister of Finance of Ghana to offer a few opening remarks, and then, we will take questions in the room.
MR. OSAFO-MAAFO: Thank you for the introduction. I want to welcome all of the ministers and governors to this session, and I want to, on behalf of all governors, to welcome Mr. Bio-Tchane as the new Director of the African Department. Mr. Bio-Tchane, you are most welcome. We know a lot about his appearance, qualities and dedication to Africa, and we look forward to a very productive relationship between our countries and Mr. Bio-Tchane.
I want also to take a few minutes to thank Mr. Köhler, the Managing Director of the IMF, for his personal interest in and engagement with our countries. As most of you may know, May 1, which is very significant, because that is Labor Day, will be the second anniversary of Mr. Köhler in office and the beginning of his third year in office. And it appears to most of us that he has been in office for about three or four years. Why? Because he has worked so hard and traveled so extensively within Africa within this short time that we think that he has been in office much longer than two years.
We have witnessed within the last two years the fruits of his commitment to the continent; the number of initiatives, resources and energy in favor of African development. Those of us who have talked to him are really happy about his frankness. He would always tell you what he thinks about an issue without mincing his words. All of you know his initiatives and assistance he has given, and we continue to expect even more the number of years left for his office.
He is very clear that he is ready to help Africa. I know I speak on your behalf when I say thank you, Mr. Köhler, and we look forward to welcoming you shortly in Accra at the conclusion of your forthcoming trip to Africa. More than ever now and with the help of the IMF and the World Bank, there is a clearer picture about the needs of the continent and the elements that need to exist for the continent to have sustainable growth.
We are very clear that governance, fight against corruption, economic governance are the pillars now of sustainable development, and these are dear to the hearts of both Mr. Köhler and Mr. Wolfensohn.
Moreover, there is now a widespread recognition, thanks to the two gentlemen, among advanced economies about the terms and the kind of partnership that is required to exploit the full potential of Africa, which includes unhindered access to the export markets of these countries. This was clear in the message of Monterrey, Mexico, the acknowledgement by the industrial countries that there is a need to link the developing world, particularly Africa, to direct foreign investment.
Indeed, Africa cannot make it with aid and trade only. We can only expand our economies, we can only provide jobs for our people, we can only transmit technology on the latest level if we are able to attract direct foreign investment, and this is the point that Mr. Köhler calls his biggest mark. Mr. Köhler is so much involved in attracting direct foreign investment to Africa; hence, his next trip to Africa to organize special investment councils, and I'm happy to note that this will include Ghana.
We believe that the cornerstone of development in our country will have to hinge on the development of the private sector. It is not only the engine of growth, but that engine must have fuel in it. People have talked about the engine of growth. If you have an engine without fuel, you won't go far. And therefore, we very much support this initiative, and we wish him the best.
We must also acknowledge the effectiveness of the HIPC and PRGF and the PRSP process, which he has done so much to push forward and to put into full gear. I think within a very short time of his term of office, more than 23 African countries have reached the decision point, and it is becoming clearer how to also reach also the completion point.
We think that there is a lot to do to empower us. We think that there is a lot for IMF to do to promote regional integration, so that Africa can have bigger markets within sub regions. As single countries, we're talking about populations between 2.5 and 20 million, but together, we offer a market of 260 million. That is why regional integration is important, and we call on the Managing Director to work in this direction. He believes in it, and we should give him the support to do so.
We all also acknowledge the enormously important role of the Fund and the Bank in initiating this process of integration, and I can assure both the Fund and the Bank that Africa is ready to support the integration process. That is the way forward.
Thank you, fellow governors.
QUESTION: It appears that the UN's Millennium Development Goals are not really on track to be reached by 2015. Mr. Wolfensohn spoke yesterday about the need possibly to prioritize. He talked a lot about education, and he also said that the Bank in particular might need to change its approach somewhat to measuring everything it does against reaching the Millennium Goals as opposed to measuring specific projects against their own goals.
I wonder what you all think about what can be done to sort of catch up on making progress toward these goals by 2015.
MR. OSAFO-MAAFO: Well, I think that we should not attempt to invent the wheel. A lot of work has already been done. The development of African countries themselves are in stages. We are not at the same level. And therefore, if we push very hard for a network of peer-lending system where Africa lends from each other, and the Fund and the Bank become flexible in the administration of the total support for Africa, it should be easier and faster for us to reach the 2015 goals.
All of us cannot reach them at the same time. This is very important, and just like Europe; I don't believe that today, the EU has the same GDP or the EU has the same per capita, and that is the story of Africa as well. So it is possible that some of us will be there faster than others.
It is therefore important when you talk about this for the IMF and the World Bank to recognize the need for Africa to learn from each other. I believe that it is better to make sure that as soon as practicable, some African countries become the role models for others. And when that is done, the development will be faster.
MS. FOUDA: Would any other minister like to offer insights on this question?
MR. BOUABRE: We often refer to poverty reduction, and I believe that it is a legitimate aspiration. For us Africans, this is a crucial question. Poverty must be reduced, and as far as I am concerned, there are no two ways about it. African economies simply must be able to create wealth, and I believe that this requires meeting some conditions that will be the lines of interventions that we must follow.
First of all, as Africans, We must implement all required measures to improve the macroeconomic framework, and I believe it is doable. There are examples of countries that have succeeded in improving their macroeconomic frameworks, so I don't see why others couldn't do it.
But this will not be enough. The improvement of the macroeconomic framework is not enough. The creation of wealth, according to me, requires more. African economies suffer from strong rigidities that are attributable to the regulatory framework for the business environment and economic activity environment. So we must start strong structural reforms.
Each African country must carefully review the situation of the essential sectors of their economy and set up a regulatory framework that will provide the required flexibility to the economy. If we manage to meet those two criteria, I believe that we will have set up the required internal conditions for wealth creation. But again, this will not be enough for an efficient eradication of poverty.
In order to obtain strong, lasting results, developed economies should work to help African countries improve their income. I'm not really in favor of this absolute fight against the increase of ODA; assistance is important, but this is not what will provide Africa with a lasting development. I believe that to contribute in a significant manner to improve income and revenue in African countries within the context of globalization, African countries' products should get more openings on other markets.
If we, in Africa, are producing, but we cannot sell on the large markets in Europe, in the United States, we won't be able to improve our income levels. So we need an opening of the markets so that we are able to fully participate in world trade, in global trade.
Then, again, if there are structural reforms, if we do improve the macroeconomic framework, we will have set up the necessary conditions to attract foreign capital to Africa. It is not acceptable that Africa should be marginalized when it comes to attracting foreign capital.
To me, these are the thought processes that we should all continue. Our responsibility is important, but our partners should also help us.
MR. KASONDE: I can say one word or two on this, because I think it is very important.
First of all, I think Africa, as a whole, needs peace. I think in our part of the world, we have a lot of insecurity and peace lacking in the DRC and Angola, and the moves that are being made now are very welcome. We very strongly support our brothers and sisters and our leaders in those countries, because development cannot take place while shooting is going on.
We also feel that it is very strong—it is a strong factor that we really concentrate on human development; that without true and good quality education, we will make steps forward, but they won't be lasting. Education is the key to human development. We can follow the profile of human development across the world, and we can only see that where education has taken priority, in fact, development has followed. So it is very important.
I would like to emphasize the point made by my colleague. Africa has had a lot of aid, and a lot of aid has been misused, and I think it is important that we do change the strategy and concentrate on trade and open the grounds of the world trading areas to African products. African products are wanted by the world, but that makes it very difficult to actually engage particularly manufactured products from Africa, which are the higher value-added I think are required. And that way, we can have an increased quality of life in the African continent.
QUESTION: When we come to these meetings, there's a lot of talk about increasing aid and giving grants or loans, and a lot of the ministers, you know, make out like they're really good guys for doing this. And then, on the other side, on the trade side, they sort of complain about other people not opening their trade and make very little reference about their own trade barriers.
And we had Mr. Wolfensohn here yesterday saying that there's US$50 billion spent on ODA every year and US$350 billion spent by people like Europe and the United States on trade protection. Do you guys see people like Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and Gordon Brown as hypocrites for these sort of statements at these meetings?
MR. OSAFO-MAAFO: I think it is clear from the figures you give yourself that trade is really important, and providing access to African goods is very key to our development. And let's take the case of cocoa in Ghana. We are able to sell, without any duty, the bean to Europe. But when we sell the butter and chocolate, we have tariffs on them. That obviously cannot assist Ghana to process its beans at home, because when you process the beans, you have a problem exporting. But you are exporting the bean raw, then, you are allowed to bring them in.
And this is the kind of, shall I say, unfairness that must be addressed, and I think from the discussions in Monterrey, it is becoming very clear that what Africa needs at the moment is fair trade, and the aid should come as supplementary. It is not the other way around, in my view. And I think the more we all push from all angles, the better for us.
But this is where you link it also with direct foreign investment. You cannot process, you cannot have the adequate technology if you do not have direct foreign investment. But it is not aid that purchases the goods. And therefore, that emphasis on direct foreign investment, the new part which the MD of IMF is taking to me is very important: that we should bring the direct foreign investment and follow it up with fair trade. I think that is the right thing to do, and we should, from all angles, fight for it.
MR. BOUABRE: Well, I would say these times are really good for Africa. For the first time in many decades, we are seeing a very concerted effort by the West to assist Africa. It is true that for a long time, it was only aid, but now, I think we are moving away from that. What elements give us this optimism? First, for the first time, we have the largest number of African countries implementing macroeconomic programs. A lot of countries have gone a long way toward establishing macroeconomic stability. This has been supported very heavily by the West, by the Fund and by the Bank.
But even more important is the debt reduction. The HIPC debt reduction initiative is really a very strong signal to Africa that the West is out to help that continent. For instance, only a few years ago, we couldn't dream that we could get debt reduction or debt forgiveness from the bilateral financial institutions, such as the World Bank and the Fund, but now, it is here.
Now, this has augmented the traditional methods of debt reduction, which were through the Paris Club, through the London Club. Now, you can see all of these elements being pulled together to pull out Africa. It is up to us now to take advantage of this initiative. Of course, we need the markets in the West to be opened so that we can export, but more importantly, as it has been repeated here, investment is extremely important.
And we have prepared that groundwork for investment to come to Africa. The first pillar was to establish macroeconomic stability. The second is that we have changed our regulations; we have changed our laws in order to make Africa attractive for investment. And then, finally, what we are really doing is to liberalize. We have liberalized. We have liberalized our economies. Our economies are very open now. A lot of controls that existed in the seventies and eighties are no longer there. And also, we have privatized. We have moved to a market orientation.
In my own country, we have almost finished the process of privatizing. What we are dealing with now are the big utilities. The telecom is gone. We are privatizing water systems. We are privatizing power systems. And we are getting very good investors who are coming to Africa.
MS. FOUDA: Could I ask Minister Kasonde to intervene, and then, I will come back to Governor Massangu, please?
MR. KASONDE: I was intrigued by the remarks made by the colleague from Reuters that we could be seeing some of these ministers of finance as not truthful.
No, I think they have the face a reality at home. They have to protect jobs here at home in their own countries, and I think when they look at imports coming from the Third World countries, they have to look at it in the context of protecting jobs in the Western countries. So what we need to look at is really a position whereby there is a rearrangement in the economic world where the investment in the Third World does not harm too much the investment in the old world, where the production and the employment in the old world can be made more consistent with the change in relation to the imports that are coming in from the Third World.
I was very much impressed with the example made by my friend from Ghana, the cocoa, because I think that there is no need for Tobler to be making the chocolate in Switzerland when it can be made in Ghana. And I think that Switzerland is a very advanced country. It can go into higher technology, whereas, Ghanaians can make more chocolates, and that is not a very high tech product.
And so, I think that we ought to be looking at a rearrangement of how we go forward in the light of the new developments in technology and in light of large scale investments from the Third World coming into the First World.
MS. FOUDA: Governor Massangu, please?
MR. MASSANGU Those who have preceded me at the microphone have already underlined what was being done in Africa and the fact that we needed more opening of markets to African products rather than assistance. We need more direct investments rather than official assistance.
Allow me to stress that indeed, today, we have many African countries who have made tremendous efforts in order to reestablish a healthy macroeconomic framework, and let me give you a few examples from my country, the DRC. You may know that the DRC received in the past much ODA. This ODA was not always used as well as it should have been, and today, we carry a very heavy burden, the burden of our debt.
Not only do we have this debt burden, but as you know, my country is now coming out of a conflict that has been lasting for many years. In spite of all this, the Democratic Republic of Congo has decided to improve its macroeconomic framework, and since we have implemented the strengthened interim plan, we have a monitoring program with the IMF, and we have gone from inflation rate from 18 to 30 percent a month to less than 1 percent a month.
This is a clear proof of the improvement of the situation. We used to have a budget deficit, and now, we have moved to a balance and sometimes a surplus situation. Our currency has remained stable for just about a full year, and all of these efforts have been carried out while our country was still in a conflict situation.
These are tremendous improvements that need to be mentioned, and other African countries are making similar efforts and are also getting very strong results. This is the first step. So as I said, the first step is to prepare the field so that those direct investments can come to Africa, and from then on, be productive so that our industries become productive.
But in the end, we need to have international markets that are open, open to African products and a level playing field such as is offered by the various industrialized countries to each other.
QUESTION: This is a question particularly for Mr. Osafo-Maafo.
There has been a lot of criticism in Ghana about plans to privatize the urban water supply. The suggestion that you're getting from critics is that it is simply not going to bring in the real commitment to investment in improving the system that it is supposed to generate.
Is this something that you are really committed to doing, or is this something you feel that has been forced upon you by the institutions?
MR. OSAFO-MAAFO: The civil society in Ghana, led by the trade union congress, has fought against privatization of water. I believe that the packaging of the whole message was not done right, and when I had a chance to re-present the matter, it became clear to the whole country that there is a need for privatization.
Now, only 52 percent of the water from the main dam reaches Accra for distribution. This is a loss of 48 percent. Now, if you have these types of figures, and if somebody else manages it so that we have, say, 95 percent of the water available, obviously, water will be cheaper in Accra than it is at the moment, when it is being done by the Government. And it is becoming very clear to the TUC and all of the civil society that we are talking about efficient delivery of water services, and that will affect the cost. Therefore, the population is not worse off if we invite private participation.
We have decided to go again, and it will come on schedule, because the figures are very clear, and I think people put different nuances to it, and now, it is becoming very clear that there is a need to improve the delivery. The Government cannot afford to put in extra capital equipment to improve the delivery services, and that is the more reason why you need new investment; you need better delivery services. So I think we will go ahead with it.
MR. BOUABRE: Well, I need to answer a little further the question on privatization. There is one important issue, I believe, that must be raised. Indeed, I believe that privatization is essential. Earlier on, I've mentioned the improvement of the economic situation. I could have talked about the improvement of competitiveness.
We have many public enterprises in Africa that have operated under totally inefficient conditions, so they need to be privatized so their efficiency can be improved.
What does that mean? That means that costs must be controlled: costs for services, for products, et cetera. But this requires a competitive framework. Unfortunately, what we see is that a public monopoly is transformed into a private monopoly, so we do not have the benefit of competitiveness. And the economy does not really take advantage of the privatization. So one must privatize, but this privatization must open the field to competition. And unfortunately, very often, it is not the case.
So we end up supporting the inefficiencies of private monopolies when we used to support those inefficiencies under public monopolies. So we need to discuss this in depth so that we develop a true entrepreneurial spirit, and even if we're dealing with a private monopoly, there needs to be a partnership between contractors, between small and medium-sized enterprises working with large private enterprises, again, within the context of true partnerships to ensure an effective and efficient technology transfer.
MS. FOUDA: Minister Kasonde, could I ask you to develop a little bit on this question, which is key, particularly with regard to what happens in Zambia?
MR. KASONDE: In fact, what the Minister has said was, to a certain extent, foreseen in Zambia when we were about to privatize the mines in Zambia, when there was a raging debate about whether we should unbundle the mining industry and sell them in pieces by mine pit for mine pit. And finally, the unbundling argument was taken precisely on the reasoning that the Minister has given us, and when it came to privatizing the water systems, we did the same on a council by council basis, and each council had a separate company, and we could monitor the efficiency with which each council's water supply was being monitored. And I think that helped a great deal.
So, Minister, I think you're 100 percent right: in Zambia, where we had the big monopolies, we just transferred the public monopoly into a private monopoly. Where we unbundled it and sold it as smaller units and sold it to different, competing companies, we have had benefits of competition and efficiency.
MR. OSAFO-MAAFO: I would also want to make a small clarification on the water situation in Ghana. To date, the rural water system in Ghana is self-managed by the rural folks themselves. When you talk about privatization in Ghana, it has nothing to do with the rural areas, because there, the bore holes and other systems are managed on a village cooperative system.
So our privatization relates specifically to supply of water to the urban centers, and therefore, one has to distinguish between the two. I know there is a need to subsidize the rural water system. The Government has clearness of mind to do so, because that's not native to water. And when you talk about privatization, we talk specifically about urban water.
MR. BALLALI: In Tanzania, it is not very different from other African countries. Also, we are in the process of privatizing the urban supply of water. Of course, it has to be done city-by-city, and right now, actually, we are handling the capital of Dar es Salaam water system, which right now is in the process of being privatized.
We have two companies that we are negotiating with for the privatization of the water system.
QUESTION: Do you feel as a group that since the sweeping democratic elections and the momentum that you have for the African renaissance have been totally eclipsed by the situation in the Middle East and the fight on terrorism, that now, attention has been shifted to reconstruction of Afghanistan and perhaps the Middle East, that some of the African countries, for example, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone and Angola, who are now, after the war, going through reconstruction that the attention—ou would not have as much attention as is being focused on other countries?
And also, when you talk about investment and attracting investors, investors are concerned perhaps by the infrastructure not being in place and also about what are you doing collectively as a group to attract investors to the region, in West Africa in particular?
MS. FOUDA: Let's address the first issue.
Governor Massangu, would you like to take that question first, please?
MR. MASSANGU: At the moment, obviously, there is a lot of concern. In the Middle East, there is a lot of attention for Afghanistan, and maybe there is a shifting of that attention from Africa elsewhere.
This should not discourage us. We know what we have to do, and we are doing what we have to do. It is also up to us to develop the mechanism of good, efficient communication; to continue to look for that foreign investment; and to increase the attention that is given to Africa. Look at this forum here: I think this is the fourth year that this forum exists whereby you do have African officials who come and talk about African issues as they relate to the global economy.
And I think this is important, and this effort needs to be continued. But we are not discouraged. We will continue. We are taking the first step. It's a long walk, but we'll reach the objective. If that objective is 2015 or another objective, we will reach them.
MR. KASONDE: I think that the world is one, and we cannot put our heads in the sand and say Africa must always be number one. Priorities of the world will change, and the disaster of 11 September affects Africa in no mean way, and the pursuit of the world's priorities will change from time to time.
But we are focused on developing Africa. We are determined on governance issues in Africa, and we are determined, as African leaders, to make a mark. So we are not worried. We really are very sad to see the pictures on television in the Middle East. No civilized person would like to see such pictures and go home happy. We'd like to see a solution in the Middle East. We would like to see a solution in Afghanistan.
But at the same time, Africa is our baby; Africa, we have to attend to it, and Africa, we will attend to it, and regardless, we are determined to the point of death to develop Africa.
MR. BOUABRE: Allow me to echo the analysis made by Minister Kasonde on the Middle East situation. Let me add that it is true. As far as the whole world is concerned, what happens in the Middle East is very serious, so we need to solve the crisis. And allow me here to indicate that I fully support what Colin Powell has done. He has gone there; he has started the dialogue, and this is a good step in the right direction.
It is important to speak with all sides. Even if, so far, he hasn't managed to get a peace agreement signed, it is this very first step that deserves our support and our encouragement. What has been raised by your colleague is important. It is the issue of conflicts in Africa and marginalization of Africa. Yes, we are concerned with the situation in the Middle East, but let us not forget that in Africa, we are faced with tremendous challenges.
I come from Côte d'Ivoire, and since 1987, there has been a war in Liberia. And we feel immediate effects from this war. There are many Liberian refugees living in Côte d'Ivoire now that we have to support. Our economy is very vulnerable, is very fragile, and it has to put up with the impact of the war in Liberia, the war in Sierra Leone as well. It is not mentioned that much in the news, but it weighs tremendously on our economies.
This is why I am very pleased that it is Mr. Wolfensohn, the President of the World Bank, or the Managing Director of the IMF, Mr. Köhler, who have both made strong commitments toward Africa, and we need to encourage them.
This upcoming visit of Mr. Köhler will allow us to discuss with him not only economic issues but also the impact on the economies of the war in Liberia, which deserves full attention. So we must avoid marginalization of Africa on a political level but mostly, mostly on the economic level. We are not present or almost not present on global trade. We need to have more open markets for our products.
The IMF, the World Bank, must provide us with the assistance we need to strengthen our capacity, and I would like to congratulate the creation of two centers of education and support in Eastern and Western Africa by the institutions. This will all help to strengthen our capacities, our institutional capacities, thus allowing us to better control the implementation of the economic programs.
MR. OSAFO-MAAFO: Well, I want to emphasize the democratization process you talked about, and I want to mention specifically the situation in Ghana. For the first time in the history of Ghana, Ghana changed government through the ballot box at the end of the year 2000. And this, no doubt, had a very tremendous effect on the population.
We have had about nine changes of government but all through the barrel of the gun. Now, it is important that when you democratize, you provide that freedom, you provide that environment that allows for growth; and therefore, democratization is something that Africa must pursue as a matter of course. And when it is done, coupled with governance, improved governance, rule for parliament, et cetera; I think that is the beginning of our own development.
We cannot develop fast enough if democratization and governance are not emphasized. And when you emphasize governance, you really fight corruption. Because the moment civil society has its liberty to discuss and to talk, you create the environment for governance. So I think this is something that Africa should aim at. This is something that there should also be the peer relationship.
And it is interesting to know that Ghana was the first African country to be independent, in 1957. Five years after that, there were 39 other African countries that have become independent. Ghana was also the first of the African countries to have a military coup of the lower ranks. Five years after that, almost 15 other African countries had a coup at that level.
So we learn from each other. And therefore, it is important that we have a situation where we democratize, and I think what is taking place in Ghana and other ECOWAS countries in particular is relevant. Now, the heads of African countries in ECOWAS are almost basically all elected, and it is making the integration faster than expected, because they meet, and they feel more comfortable.
QUESTION: What would be your message to the demonstrators outside who say that the IMF and the World Bank are the worst enemies of the world's poor?
MR. OSAFO-MAAFO: Well, I think the beauty of the world is the fact that people are free to express their views and their opinions. Certainly, the demonstrators outside are basically concerned about the poverty that one sees around the world, particularly in Africa. And they think that the IMF and the World Bank are not doing enough to fight the poverty in terms of rates.
We are fighting the poverty, but how fast are we doing it? So from that point of view, this is important. As far as I am concerned, these demonstrations tend to turn our conscience to see the reality. And I think it is important. But they may not also be aware of all of the facts on the ground today with respect to what the IMF and the World Bank are both doing to fight poverty. So we need to do some education for those people outside, but the message is that we must fight poverty faster than we are fighting it now.
MR. KASONDE: I would like to inform our colleagues outside that the world is a better place with IMF and World Bank than without it, and that it will be better for them to be more constructive in giving the people of the world a better platform than the IMF and the World Bank. If they can come up with some better ideas, we are all listening. We are all reading their placards, and we are all thinking people.
IMF EXTERNAL RELATIONS DEPARTMENT