The global economic system is broken, says Christian Aid

By agency reporter
April 9, 2019

Christian Aid’s Chief Executive, Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, is travelling to Washington DC and New York for a series of high level meetings at the World Bank and Finance for Development conferences respectively, where she will be promoting the cause of the world’s poorest.
 
Amanda will be arguing that the global economic system is broken at the World Bank Spring meetings in Washington DC from 8-12 April, and at the Finance for Development conference in New York from 12-16 April.  
 
Despite convincing rhetoric and grand gestures from those in power, and despite the pledges to leave no one behind, Christian Aid believes that the oppression of marginalised people is deeply embedded in how the global economic system operates – a system which prioritises insatiable growth beyond the Earth’s ecological limits and one which devalues the lives and dignity of billions of people across the Global South.
 
Our global economic system’s reliance on a fossil fuel driven growth places unsustainable and existential pressures on both people and planet. The public banks including the World Banks Group (WBG) and the private sector should be leading the way towards an equitable, just and climate safe future. This needs to happen at a fast pace.
 
Amanda Khozi Mukwashi said: “On a recent visit to Ethiopia, I was struck when a woman helped by Christian Aid explained to me that it is getting hotter every year, the crops failing, the livestock dying. This woman had never been in a classroom or read a book. And yet she described the tragedy of climate change and sustainable development in one sentence and, all too unusually, in a language that is universal.

“For climate change must not be an issue that is understood only by experts. Instead, it is about poverty and social justice and affects the world’s poorest most: it is essential that these people are enabled to have the agency not just to be able to survive, but to thrive. After all, we cannot truly flourish if our neighbours are suffering and in danger.

“Climate change is a bigger threat than any one human being irrespective of power or position. For my friend in Ethiopia and many millions of others, it is about life and death.”

Khozi Mukwashi  will also be discussing these issues on Al Jazeera’s UpFront programme hosted by Mehdi Hasan in Washington DC this month.

More broadly, she will argue that creating a fairer global economy is key to creating a fairer global society. There is real progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in some areas, but also clear trends that risk sending us in the opposite direction.
 
The privileging of global private finance risks exacerbating the negative trends, while at the same time there is little evidence that it can deliver either the quantity or the quality of finance required. An urgent rebalancing of the agenda is needed.

At the same time, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has done little work to address critical structural issues which perpetuate gender inequalities such as unpaid care work and equality, and gender-responsive public services (fundamental to the question of women’s work). It continues to peddle conventional and orthodox macro-economic policy advice that severely undermines gender equality and women’s rights.

Christian Aid and Khozi Mukwashi argue that, without a radical transformation in our global governance, policies and motivations of the institutions of power, the changes needed to end poverty, inequality and climate destruction will remain elusive.
 
It is time to re-evaluate our values system which centres around the unquenchable thirst for growth and financial gain ahead of people and planet – particularly marginalised populations in the Global South who disproportionately bear the effects of the flawed system.

* Christian Aid https://mediacentre.christianaid.org.uk/

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