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Are the World's Institutional Lenders Ready to Reform?

This is the VOA Special English Development Report.

The African Development Bank held its yearly meeting in Shanghai, China, earlier this month. The bank’s chief economist announced the economic growth rate in Africa is expected to reach six percent this year. This is the highest in twenty years. Foreign demand for natural resources, especially oil, has helped create the growth.

Dennis de Tray is vice president of the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C. He says that six percent economic growth in Africa is good. But he says long-term development on the continent will be a problem for generations.

Mister de Tray led a working group last year that provided independent advice to the bank’s shareholders and its president, Donald Kaberuka. The Rwandan economist took over leadership of the African bank in two thousand five. Ten years earlier, the economic security of the African Development Bank had been in question. It was almost out of money.

Mister de Tray says needed reforms at the African bank are different from reforms announced at a meeting of the Asian Development Bank. That bank met earlier this month in Kyoto, Japan. Mister de Tray believes the Asian Development Bank is facing an identity crisis. The countries receiving the most money are becoming established nations with rich resources. As a result, loans from the Asian Development Bank are unnecessary. Yet, Mister de Tray says there is a small group of countries in Asia still developing, including Laos and Cambodia. These countries will continue to need assistance from the Asian Development Bank.

He says the African Development Bank is in the middle of a continent that will need development aid for years to come. Some countries have gained success. But many others are still trying to create continued development that does not harm the environment. The African Development Bank is doing a better job serving its member countries, Mister De Tray says. But, he believes the bank still has a long way to go to reach a level of success.

Mister De Tray thinks that reforms needed within all of the world’s international banks are related. And, over the next year, he predicts a debate about how the system works.

And that's the VOA Special English Development Report, written by Jill Moss. You can read and download audio of Special English programs at our web site, I’m Shep O'Neal.