Former vice-minister doubts 'miracle'

12 September 2015

The IMF and the World Bank will hold their joint annual meetings this year in Lima on 5-12 October. José De Echave, formerly vice-minister of the environment under Ollanta Humala, and director of the NGO CooperAcción, has come out with a strongly-worded attack on the ‘flavour’ of the announcement by both institutions. He quotes the World Bank’s Corporate Secretary, Mahmoud Mohieldin, as saying that the choice “is without doubt a reflection of what Peru has achieved in recent years in terms of political stability, a stable institutional framework, economic solidity, attraction of investments and integration to the world economy.”

To De Echave this rings very hollow. In government, he tried himself in good faith to develop decent environmental controls and found it impossible. Another document from CooperAcción, just published, documents the weak position and lack of resources of the key environmental control instrument, SENACE, the Servicio Nacional de Certificación Ambiental de Inversiones Sostenibles (

He claims that the recent fall in international commodity prices, now hitting copper and gold, was totally predictable for anyone knowing Peru’s history of cycles. The government has failed, yet again, in tax policy and in regulation, among other areas, to prepare the economy for the downturn and the long run. There is no miracle. Meanwhile growth is slowing, inflation is rising, the size of the current account on the balance of payments is starting to scare investors, and (in all probability) the numbers living in poverty will begin to rise.

We can only echo De Echave’s challenge: reappraising the country's development strategy must be a central task of the coming electoral process.

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