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October 24 2021 6:13 AM ˚

The World Bank Group betrayed Jordan with Made-in-China corruption

210921 Ruba Saqr
The World Bank Group’s headquarters in Washington, DC on October 7, 2019. (Photo: World Bank)
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Nothing explains China’s astronomical rise to power and rapid world domination like the recent World Bank Group scandal of corruption, unethical conduct, and favoritism. To become a prominent world player in the span of two decades, China had to have “partners in corruption” in international organizations, to help it paint a false image about itself and to lure investors into a fake economic setup, at the expense of honest nations.اضافة اعلان

To no one’s surprise, we are finally out of the realm of theory and speculation, with regards to corruption and misconduct at World Bank Group (a viewpoint many anti-globalization activists hold dear to their hearts), and possibly at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). After all, the same official named in the bank’s scandal is the sitting managing director of the IMF, none other than Bulgarian economist Kristalina Georgieva.

I do believe, though, she is being thrown under the bus to make a quick case against China, as the tension between the Asian nation and Washington intensifies across so many axes. This isn’t to absolve the official of any wrongdoing, but to conclude that the scale of corruption must be deeper than initially thought. I would also argue that with China’s sweeping world domination, we might be looking at decades of favoritism and data manipulation that helped the “red dragon” conquer an unsuspecting world.

According to the CNN, WilmerHale, the law firm tasked with an independent investigation into the bank’s “Doing Business” reports, found that then-CEO Georgieva pressured the team in 2017 to "change the report's methodology" or "make specific changes" to data points, with the sole purpose of boosting China's ranking in the 2018 edition. The Associated Press adds, the office of Asian-American Jim Yong Kim, then the bank’s president, also pressured staff members to change data on China to support Beijing’s ranking in the report, among other countries.

The picture becomes starker when we remember how a country like Jordan — honest, hardworking, and well-meaning — often gets lashed with stringent World Bank Group policies, laced with harsh and condescending evaluations that squeeze the soul out of this patient nation.

Those recent revelations are not just about corruption in skewing the methodology of a high-profile report. This is about giving some nations more access to economic opportunity and prosperity with the help of fake data, and at the expense of other nations.

As a Jordanian citizen who is often lectured by self-righteous world organizations about “transparency” and “reform” (empty words in light of recent revelations), I would like to ask World Bank Group and the IMF the following: How much of that fake data was included in reports about Jordan?

As a member of the middle class, how many times did I have to pay taxes based on dubious economic reports? How many times did Jordan lose economic opportunities and investments based on one of your shady reporting methods? And how many times was I robbed of the chance at a reasonable standard of living (that many in the West would consider to be terrifyingly below their expectations), because my country was denied a fair shot in life?

As it turns out, Jordan was indeed the victim of unfair and corrupt treatment at the hands of a World Bank Group official. An alarming Jordan News report published on Monday says, a “former senior World Bank (Group) staff member allegedly manipulated data to ensure that Saudi Arabia ranked first on the Top Improvers list of the bank’s Doing Business 2020 report at the expense of Jordan’s no. 1 spot.”

How many more reports about Jordan — from World Bank Group, the IMF, and similar bodies — have betrayed a country breaking at the seams from a severe imbalance between the burden of responsibility that we carry (from refugees to scare water resources), and the wrong kind of policies, based on the wrong kind of data?

Although the current news cycle is focused on World Bank Group specifically, there is nothing to stop us from assuming this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to China’s (and in this instance, other countries’) unethical ways around the world institutional landscape.

How do we know similar corruption is not rife at organizations like the World Trade Organization, the World Health Organization, or any other organization with corruptible officials who can be swayed, probably with monetary incentive or psychological manipulation that plays on their unchecked biases, to breach their organizations’ code of ethics?

The world can offer no guarantees that are no more nuanced and hard-to-discover schemes of corruption and favoritism in all kinds of organizations that have the potential to help boost Chinese agendas across a variety of landscapes, from politics to economy.

This said, for many analysts, corruption and lack of moral values seems to be what sets China’s DNA apart. From ethnic cleansing committed against the Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region, to predatory economic practices against vulnerable nations in need of economic support, the Chinese Communist Party seems to have no clear idea about what constitutes moral leadership, let alone engage in sound, ethical, and transparent competitiveness on the world stage.

Let us take a step back to see the big picture about China’s true value system. This is a regime that is firmly rooted in Big Brother surveillance and a “social credit system,” designed to bend the will of citizens and companies to the absolute viewpoint of the Chinese Communist Party. I speak in more detail about this in a previous opinion piece for Jordan News titled, “America’s ‘higher quality’ alternative to China’s Belt-and-Road Initiative.”

Some think there is plenty of evidence that points to a multilayered strategy designed by the Chinese Communist Party to advance a predatory economic agenda that feeds on the vulnerabilities of poor nations across the world, in a bid to entrench the party’s power beyond mainland China.

In 2015, the New York Times published an investigative report titled, “China’s Global Ambitions, Cash and Strings Attached.”  The article supports the argument that with the absence of humanist core values to guide its actions, China has indeed abused its power and “elevated status” by “forcing countries to play by its financial rules, which can be onerous.”

The article goes on to say, “Many developing countries, in exchange for loans, pay steep interest rates and give up the rights to their natural resources for years. China has a lock on close to 90 percent of Ecuador’s oil exports, which mostly goes to paying off its loans.”

The moral of the story is that the United States, the world’s only safety valve against further Made-in-China infiltration and domination, should open a wide array of investigations into every single world organization, including the UN, to see how much of policy and decision-making has been influenced by China-leaning officials, feigning objectivity and obviously corruptible global values.

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