Will the World Bank’s IFC Uphold or Destroy Its Internal Watchdog’s Independence?

An investigation into the IFC’s funding of Cambodia’s troubled microfinance sector has implications far beyond the country’s borders.

On July 28, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector investment arm of the World Bank Group, is set to decide whether to empower its own accountability and oversight mechanism, or to undermine the mechanism’s credibility in the pursuit of predatory profits.

The IFC’s independent watchdog, the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO), was established to monitor the bank’s billions of dollars of investments across the globe, and to assess whether those investments adhere to the IFC’s environmental and social standards.

For the last 16 months, a complaint filed by our organizations on behalf of Cambodian microfinance borrowers has been winding its way through the CAO process. The complaint concerns Cambodian borrowers who have been forced to sell their land, driven to unsafe migration, forced to sell culturally significant land belonging to Indigenous people, put children to work in order to make loan repayments, and suffered a number of other harms due to predatory lending.

In full: https://thediplomat.com/2023/07/will-the-world-banks-ifc-uphold-or-destroy-its-internal-watchdogs-independence/

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