The World Bank, population control and the African environment

S Afr Sociol Rev. 1992 Apr;4(2):2-29.


PIP: According to the World Bank, Africa faces a dual crisis of explosive population growth and the accompanying environmental degradation. While recognizing the problems of civil wars, inappropriate policies, falling international prices for exports, AIDS, poverty-related diseases, and migration, the World Bank has not considered these to be a strict part of the nexus between agricultural, environmental, and population problems. Critics charge that the World Bank has brought to Africa modern agricultural practices far more environmentally destructive than traditional practices, that World Bank projects privilege large-scale farmers, and that World Bank analyses ignore the complexities of a continent, particularly in terms of cultural generalizations. The World Bank proposes top-down policy changes, from land tenure reform to improving women's education, without identifying the necessary resources to implement change. The World Bank bolsters its analyses with statistics and with project appraisals by academic experts, yet the institution has no true understanding of Africa.

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Developing Countries
  • Economics
  • Environment*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic*
  • Financial Management
  • International Agencies
  • International Cooperation*
  • Organizations
  • Public Policy*
  • United Nations*