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The Africa Confidential Blog

  • 5th October 2023

Will 'earthquake diplomacy' work at the IMF and World Bank meeting in Marrakech?

Africa Confidential

Out of the phenomenon known as 'earthquake diplomacy' – as practised in Fukushima, Bali and l'Aquila – natural disasters have given grand multilateral meetings a shot in the arm and a sense of purpose. That is what the what the Moroccan government hopes will happen when Marrakech hosts the IMF and the World Bank annual meetings on 9-16 October, less than a month after a major earthquake struck the city.

After a few days of hesitation, Morocco's government calculated that it should press ahead with the meetings which could help it raise support for its five-year reconstruction plan costed at US$11.5 billion. Rabat's diplomats will also use the meetings to reinforce Morocco's role as a renewable energy pioneer with fast-developing manufacturing and tech hubs. All that was on display in June when Marrakech hosted the Bloomberg New Economy summit.

All that fits in with the efforts by IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and World Bank President Ajay Banga to work more closely together to boost lending for climate and infrastructure projects. The two institutions have set up a Climate Advisory Group together to coordinate policy on finance for middle-income countries and are to work more closely on debt restructuring for countries hit hardest by climate change. The Bank is also due to spell out why it wants to raise lending to developing economies by $100billion over the next decade.