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Scrutiny for World Bank project in Ghana

Scrutiny for World Bank project in Ghana

Today’s Washington Times has a skeptical story on a new project by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation in Ghana:

One of the world’s richest men and a member of the Saudi royal family has received approval for a $26 million loan from a branch of the World Bank to build a luxury hotel in Ghana, a West African nation with a developing economy but where 40 percent of the people live in poverty.

Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, also known as Prince Walid, is a nephew of Saudi Arabian King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz. With a net worth of $19.6 billion, according to Forbes magazine, he is the 26th richest person in the world.

Yet his company was able to borrow $26 million to build a five-star hotel in Accra, the capital and largest city in Ghana, from the International Finance Corp. (IFC), part of the World Bank Group, under a program to encourage private development in developing nations.

It’s odd that a Washington Times story is challenging so directly the notion that large-scale investment by the rich can ultimately help the poor.