At what cost? IMF loans could spur the region into yet more revolutions
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has just signed off on another loan for another poor country: this week it was Egypt’s turn. The fund, set up in 1948, has been the lender of last resort for decades now, but has gained a reputation as an enemy of democracy and the Arab Spring.
Alongside the money comes a whole host of stipulations, usually involving cuts in government subsidies and the kind of neo-liberal economy that makes the rich richer and poor poorer.
The Arab uprisings that started in Tunisia, have given the IMF a new lease of life, with its officials being dispatched to almost every nation in the MENA region.
These infant democracies are now battling with economic rules that cut down government expenditure and increase international investment. It’s a potent combination that many believe will leave the Arab world’s revolutionaries little choice but to head back to their squares and demand their leaders’ heads, yet again.