News & Media / Comment on the increase of African seats in the World Bank and IMF boards

Comment on the increase of African seats in the World Bank and IMF boards

09 October, 2023

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation commends the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) for adding a third seat for Africa in their respective boards. This move is a significant step towards enhancing the representation of the African continent in the international and financial multilateral system, for which the Foundation has been a constant champion.

Diversifying perspectives and balancing decision-making processes is the only way to ensure the efficiency and sustainability of multilateralism.

Currently at the IMF Africa has the most members (54/190), the most programmes (46.8% from 2000-2023), but only 6.5% of voting shares – the lowest of any world region but Oceania. At the World Bank, Africa has the majority of International Development Assistance (IDA) eligible countries (40/75), the most IDA loans (52% from 2012-2021), but only 11% of voting shares.

This development immediately follows the implementation of a permanent African seat at the G20, which clearly shows that the drive for global multilateral reform is building major momentum.

When it comes to the governance of the multilateral financial system, how can this be fair and effective if a few shareholders’ voices trump those of the global majority and exclude Africa – which accounts for almost 20% of the global population and is a core development, security and economic actor? Increased African representation in both the IMF and World Bank will ensure fairer and more effective decision-making, but also stronger responsibility to implement and accountability on results. I hope this is just the beginning of a long-awaited reform of the global institutions and I look forward to the results.

~Mo Ibrahim, Founder and Chair, Mo Ibrahim Foundation

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