Action Requested: Advisory Committee on Minority Farmers (ACMF) Meeting – Federal Register Announcement

Author: Kenya Nicholas      Published: 12/29/2022    OPPE Equity Partners

Good day everyone!

USDA invites you to the Advisory Committee on Minority Farmers’ (ACMF) first in-person meeting on January 18-20, 2023, in Davis, California.  I am attaching the Federal Register Notice (FRN) which may also be viewed at the following link:  87 FR 79854 – Advisory Committee on Minority Farmers – Content Details – 2022-28237 (

Would you support us by sharing this announcement with your networks, colleagues, and other stakeholders to invite them to this important public advisory committee meeting? OPPE has been keen on increasing participation and raising awareness of the ACMF throughout the country. I’m certain many will be interested in the issues being discussed concerning minority farmers – their challenges and how we (all of us) can be helpful. The FRN briefly describes the 3-day meeting, how to access to the proceedings, and includes instructions for participating in person or virtually. We do ask everyone to pre-register, but this is not a requirement to join the meeting.

If you have any questions, please contact RJ Cabrera at or Eston Williams at (also copied in this message).

Thanks in advance for helping us get the word out.

Kenya Nicholas

Deputy Director Office of Partnerships & Public Engagement

Office of the Secretary

Office: 202-692-0098

Fax:     202-720-6604


Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency Announces Nearly $100 Million to Expand Opportunities for Underserved Entrepreneurs

Author: US MBDA Staff   Published: 12/21/2022      Minority Business Development Agency


                                                                                    Home      Press Releases

The Capital Readiness Program grant competition marks the largest investment to support minority entrepreneurs and businesses from the Commerce Department

WASHINGTON DC – Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce launched the Capital Readiness Program grant competition, which dedicates $93.5 million to help minority and other underserved entrepreneurs grow and scale their businesses. This program, administered by the Minority Business Development Agency, marks the largest program of its kind in the history of the Commerce Department.

The Capital Readiness Program will provide funding to incubators and accelerators across the country, with expertise to assist and train minority and other underserved entrepreneurs seeking resources, tools, and technical assistance to start or scale their businesses in high-growth industries such as healthcare, climate resilient technology, asset management, infrastructure, and more.

Businesses owned by women of color represent one of the fastest growing sectors in the economy. However, structural barriers persist, preventing many women from starting their own businesses and accessing capital, childcare solutions, and peer networks. The Capital Readiness Program will provide the curriculum, tools, and resources to minority entrepreneurs to access capital and funding, and connect them to subject matter experts, vendors and peer support to help start or scale their business.

“This new program reflects President Biden’s and the Commerce Department’s continued historic commitment to underserved business owners and entrepreneurs,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “During the pandemic, women and minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs were among the hardest hit, often lacking the resources they needed to keep their doors open. We can’t let this happen again. That’s why the Capital Readiness Program prioritizes and encourages resources and tools, such as childcare services, that will ensure more people can launch and scale businesses.”

“In 2020, Black and Hispanic female founders accounted for less than half of a percent of total venture capital investments,” said U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves. “Jumpstarting the next generation of entrepreneurs and ensuring diverse representation in these high-growth industries is essential, not only to spurring innovation, but also to building a more resilient economy that’s reflective of all Americans.”

MBDA’s Capital Readiness Program is funded by the Department of Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), reauthorized under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. SSBCI provides $10 billion to states, the District of Columbia, territories, and Tribal governments to promote entrepreneurship, increase access to capital, and help businesses grow—especially in traditionally underserved communities. The Capital Readiness Program is intended to serve entrepreneurs and businesses that are applying, have applied, or plan to apply to SSBCI or other government programs that support small businesses.

“We know that entrepreneurs and small businesses in underserved communities have long lacked equal access to resources and capital to reach their full economic potential,” said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo. “Through the Capital Readiness Program, the Minority Business Development Agency—tasked with promoting growth and competitiveness of our nation’s minority-owned businesses—will help enable entrepreneurs and business owners to obtain the information they need to access funding through small business support programs. When entrepreneurs and small business owners in all communities have a chance to compete and thrive, it increases our country’s entire economic potential and growth.”

MBDA is the only federal government agency dedicated solely to supporting minority-owned businesses, enterprises, and entrepreneurs and helping them overcome the barriers to economic success that many women and minority communities face. The agency is uniquely situated to provide technical assistance and help these businesses be successful in applying to SSBCI capital programs and other government programs that support small businesses.

“The Capital Readiness Program will open doors for entrepreneurs,” said Donald Cravins, Jr., Under Secretary of the Minority Business Development Agency. “The greatest obstacle facing disadvantaged entrepreneurs, especially entrepreneurs of color, is access. MBDA can effectively launch the initiative to help entrepreneurs start and develop their business, access capital through the Department of Treasury’s SSBCI Capital Program, and access networks that understand and address the unique challenges minority entrepreneurs and other underserved entrepreneurs face.”

Entities that are eligible to apply include non-profit organizations, private sector entities, institutions of higher education, and a consortium of two or more of any of the above-mentioned eligible applicants. To address one of the largest barriers to women in the workplace, the competition incentivizes applicants to provide childcare solutions, such as on-site day care, as a strategic priority. The competition also incentivizes proposals from organizations that are working to break down economic barriers for underserved communities and support traditionally underrepresented, high-growth industries while growing America’s economy.

Starting in January, MBDA will host a series of informational pre-application webinars. The webinars will assist potential applicants in better understanding the Capital Readiness Program and the application requirements outlined in the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). The webinars are scheduled on January 10, 17, and 24th 2023 at 2:00 pm Eastern Time.


Print Official Press Release



Biden-Harris Administration Announces Historic Investment to Electrify U.S. Postal Service Fleet

Author: OFCSO Staff      Published:  12/20/2022    Office of the Federal Chief Sustainability Officer 

Andrew Mayock

On February 9, 2021, President Biden appointed Andrew Mayock to serve as the Federal Chief Sustainability Officer

 As the Federal Chief Sustainability Officer, Andrew Mayock leads President Biden’s efforts to improve the sustainability of the Federal government, including by helping Federal agencies prepare for and respond to the impacts of climate change on their operations and services.

Andrew brings over 25 years of public and private sector experience to the Biden Administration, including service in the Obama and Clinton Administrations. In the Obama Administration, Andrew served as Deputy Director for Management and Associate Director for General Government Programs at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). At OMB, he led OMB’s management offices and the President’s Management Council with a focus on digital services, cybersecurity, acquisitions, financial management, personnel and performance management. As Associate Director for General Government Programs, he oversaw policy and budget for six cabinet agencies comprising $225 billion of the President’s budget and covering over one million federal employees.

Prior to his OMB roles, Andrew served as the Deputy Vice President for Compact Operations for East and Southern Africa at the Millennium Challenge Corporation. He served as Executive Secretary at the U.S. Treasury Department from 2009-2010.

In the Clinton Administration from 1995-2000, Andrew worked at the White House and the U.S. Treasury Department. Andrew was a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton from 2003-2009 and McKinsey & Company from 2017-2020, where he focused on public sector programs.

During 2019– 2020, Andrew served on the steering committee of the Climate 21 Project, which delivered advice for a coordinated, rapid-start, whole-of-government climate response.

Andrew received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois, law degree from The George Washington University Law School, and a master in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

He and his wife have two children and reside in Washington, D.C.

About the Office of the Federal Chief Sustainability Officer

What We Do

President Biden has charged the U.S. Federal Government to lead by example by sustainably managing its footprint of over 300,000 buildings, over 600,000 vehicles, and $650 billion spent annually on goods and services. He issued Executive Order 14008 during his first week of office, calling on the Federal Government to align its management of property and procurement to support robust climate action while creating new jobs and catalyzing the country’s clean energy industries.

On Dec. 8, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 14057 and issued his Federal Sustainability Plan, which directs the Federal Government to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 by transitioning Federal infrastructure to zero-emission vehicles and energy efficient buildings, powered by carbon pollution-free electricity.

The Office of Federal Chief Sustainability Officer, which is a part of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, is leading the implementation of Executive Order 14057 and issued his Federal Sustainability Plan.


About Agency Chief Sustainability Officers

Federal agencies appoint an Agency Chief Sustainability Officer to lead agency-wide implementation of sustainability and climate adaptation policy and meet the President’s goals and priorities. See the list of Agency Chief Sustainability Officers.


December 20, 2022 

Biden-⁠Harris Administration Announces Historic Investment to Electrify U.S. Postal Service Fleet

Today, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) announced an historic, $9.6 billion investment over the next five years to electrify its delivery fleet. The USPS investment includes electrifying 75% of its new purpose-built Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDV) and a commitment to acquire 100% electric NGDVs starting in 2026. This $9.6 billion investment – which includes $3 billion in funding from the Inflation Reduction Act – installs modern charging infrastructure at hundreds of USPS facilities, electrifies 66,000 delivery vehicles, and modernizes mail delivery by creating a smarter network to more efficiently reach its 163 million delivery locations across the country and further strengthen the sustainability of this critical public service.

Earlier this year, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act to help bring down everyday costs – including costs for energy. The Inflation Reduction Act’s once-in-a-generation investment in America’s infrastructure delivers the most significant action ever to tackle the climate crisis and strengthen U.S. energy security, including $3 billion to modernize the USPS delivery fleet. The USPS actions announced today sustain reliable mail service to Americans while modernizing the fleet, reducing operating costs, increasing clean air in our neighborhoods, creating jobs, and improving public health.

President Biden’s ambitious goal for 50% of new vehicles sold in 2030 to be electric has accelerated investments and jumpstarted the EV market in America. Since President Biden took office, U.S. electric vehicle sales tripled and are now higher than ever before. One year ago, through the President’s Executive Order on Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability, the Biden-Harris Administration released the most ambitious sustainability plan ever, establishing a goal for 100% acquisition of zero emission light-duty vehicles by 2027 and medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by 2035.

With today’s announcement, USPS will exceed President Biden’s requirement for each agency to electrify its Federal fleet. Over the next five years, the Postal Service will purchase 45,000 specialized USPS NGDV electric vehicles and 21,000 commercial off-the-shelf electric vehicles.

“We commend the U.S. Postal Service,” said John Podesta, Senior Advisor to the President. “The USPS plan leverages the $3 billion provided by the Inflation Reduction Act to hit the target of 100% electric delivery vehicle purchases in 2026, sets the postal fleet on a course for electrification, significantly reduces vehicles miles traveled in the network, and places USPS at the forefront of the clean transportation revolution.”

The U.S. government operates the largest vehicle fleet in the world, and USPS is the largest vehicle fleet in the Federal government. Through today’s action, USPS sets the bar for the rest of the Federal government, and, importantly, the rest of the world.

In the bold modernization plan unveiled today, the USPS invests the full $3 billion in Inflation Reduction Act funds to increase ambition and pace in electrifying its fleet, including $1.3 billion for electric delivery vehicles and $1.7 billion for charging infrastructure. Coupled with $6.6 billion in USPS funds, the overall $9.6 billion, 100,000-vehicle modernization plan results in 66,000 electric delivery vehicles and tens of thousands of charging stations through 2028, and a target of acquiring only electric delivery vehicles after 2026.

“The U.S. Postal Service plan sets the pace for other leading public and private sector fleets. It is clear that the future of transportation is electric – and that future is here,” said Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory. “As electric mail trucks hit routes across the country, neighborhoods will see cleaner air, better health, and good-paying clean energy jobs.”

“Moving packages from point A to point B in a way that’s cleaner, more cost-effective, and accelerating toward an electric vehicle future stamped ‘Made in America,” said the President’s National Climate Adviser Ali Zaidi. “This is the Biden climate strategy on wheels, and the U.S. Postal Service delivering for the American people.”

With this announcement, USPS demonstrates how it is leading by example for the Federal Government in achieving President Biden’s charge to electrify the U.S. Government’s 650,000 vehicles.

Durant Family Foundation Boosts Bowie State With $500,000 Investment

Author: WIN      Published: 12/15/2022      Washington Informer News

Wanda Durant, Bowie State President Amina Breaux, the Bowie State men's and women's basketball teams and a few cheerleaders line up for a celebratory photo. (Richard Elliott/The Washington Informer)

Wanda Durant, Bowie State President Amina Breaux, the Bowie State men’s and women’s basketball teams and a few cheerleaders line up for a celebratory photo. (Richard Elliott/The Washington Informer)

NBA champion and MVP Kevin Durant and his mother Wanda Durant, who he publicly proclaimed was  “the real MVP,” are giving back to the basketball star’s hometown once again.

The Durant Family Foundation held a press conference to announce a $500,000 investment to Bowie State University’s Athletics Department, which will go towards installing a new basketball court, expanding seating capacity and improving the press box for the BSU basketball arena, located in the Leonidas S. James Physical Education Complex. Athletics VP Clyde Doughty Jr. believes that this donation will encourage even more students and community members to attend games and see the on-campus facilities.

“We are dedicated to providing resources and possibilities to students for higher education, especially in Prince George’s County,” said Wanda Durant, the basketball star’s mother, who runs the Durant Family Foundation. “Bowie State was the perfect place to have meaningful impact.”

State dollars can’t go to athletic programs. Students are often charged athletic fees in addition to tuition to maintain athletic programs, a prohibitive cost for students. By funding this donation, Bowie State will not have the same need for raising athletic fees that other Maryland universities have implemented over the past decade.

“This gift is important because we rely on private dollars to support the operation we have here,”  said Bowie State President Amina Breaux.

Durant also took the moment to offer support for Deion Sanders’ decision to leave Jackson State and go to University of Colorado. She expressed optimism that HBCUs will continue to attract star athletes.

Athletics VP Clyde Doughty Jr. and Breaux both agreed that this donation will enhance the visibility of the university and improve the student experience.

“Athletics is a way to improve the student experience, build student success and bring greater awareness to the excellence of Bowie State University” President Breaux said in a post-conference interview. This generosity of this investment will enhance our athletic program by improving the athletic facilities and seating, providing financial support to student athletes, and spreading awareness of our school’s excellence.”

Last Week in ILSR’s Energy Democracy Initiative

Author:  ILSR Staff       Published:  12/19/2022       ILSR

Last week, ILSR updated its national community solar tracker. New York has clearly oustripped Minnesota in installed capacity (although not per capita!) and Massachusetts is also gaining. See our quarterly report for every state with a robust, 3rd party program!

If you like our coverage of community solar, our podcast series on public power, our work exposing the challenges of solar projects connecting to the grid, or our focus on collective action for renewable heating, you can help. A donation of any size provides us with flexible funds we can use to address pressing issues of energy democracy, corporate power, and local solar. We’ve got some big plans for the coming year, from a report on utility platform monopoly to a bootcamp to advance community-owned solar. Could you give us a leg up for 2023 with a donation? Either way, we’re grateful for your interest and support of ILSR’s mission to build local power and fight corporate control.

Keep your energy local,

The Latest News in Energy Self

Updates to our National Community Solar Programs Tracker…
View this email in your browser
@JohnFFarrell @JohnFFarrell Energy Democracy Energy Democracy
Last week, ILSR updated its national community solar tracker. New York has clearly oustripped Minnesota in installed capacity (although not per capita!) and Massachusetts is also gaining. See our quarterly report for every state with a robust, 3rd party program!

If you like our coverage of community solar, our podcast series on public power, our work exposing the challenges of solar projects connecting to the grid, or our focus on collective action for renewable heating, you can help. A donation of any size provides us with flexible funds we can use to address pressing issues of energy democracy, corporate power, and local solar. We’ve got some big plans for the coming year, from a report on utility platform monopoly to a bootcamp to advance community-owned solar. Could you give us a leg up for 2023 with a donation? Either way, we’re grateful for your interest and support of ILSR’s mission to build local power and fight corporate control.

Keep your energy local,

P.S. ILSR’s 2022 Annual Report is now online, featuring our biggest policy wins, media hits, and local impact stories from 2022. Take a look.

ILSR relies on donations from people like you. Please support our work.
The Latest News in Energy Self-Reliance
National Community Solar Programs Tracker

20 states have policies allowing some form of community renewable energy. This quarterly update (2022 Q3) shows the capacity built in six states: Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York. It focuses on programs in investor-owned utility service territory.


ILSR Urges EPA to Prioritize Grants in Low-Income and Disadvantaged CommunitiesILSR joined with Solar United Neighbors (SUN) to submit comments on the design and implementation of the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. A byproduct of the Inflation Reduction Act, the fund will support zero-emission technologies and projects that reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions.


Shining Up Sacramento’s Lackluster Public Utility

In this episode of the Local Energy Rules podcast, Derek Cressman and Fatima Malik, who both ran for seats on the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) board, describe the evolution of SMUD, how the public utility is failing its customers, and share their proposed solutions.


Tiny Laboratories of (Energy) Democracy

In this episode of the Local Energy Rules Podcast, the founders of ZeroCarbonMA discuss the six provisions in the Municipal Climate Empowerment Plan, a package of state legislation that would enable Mass. communities to tackle their clean energy challenges with local solutions and greater local funding.


Public Power Pt. 6: Alternatives

For the final episode in our special series, The Promise and Peril of Publicly-Owned Power, we explore five alternatives to a public power takeover that can still advance a community’s clean energy and environmental justice aims.


Public Power Pt. 5: The Perils

Customers of four publicly-owned utilities explain some limitations of the public power model and share how they are organizing to increase accountability. This is part five of a special series: The Promise and Peril of Publicly-Owned Power.


How Cities Can Make the Most of IRA Dollars

In this episode of the Local Energy Rules Podcast, Lawyer Amy Turner joins John Farrell to explain how cities can use Inflation Reduction Act dollars to advance local goals — and why they should help their residents do the same.


The Local Energy Rules Podcast
Listen In!
What do you want to know about the community renewable energy space? Email me at

Green Bank News | December 2022 Here’s The Latest News

Author:  MCGB Staff      Published:   12/19/2022      Montgomery County Green Bank

Green Bank News | December 2022
Here’s The Latest News

We’re expanding our business with new staff, partnerships, and projects. See below for updates. 

Olney Professional Building Uses Tailored Financing for Energy Efficiency Renovations

Olney Professional Building will undergo energy efficiency renovations using tailored financing from the Green Bank and Sandy Spring Bank. The energy efficiency upgrades include HVAC, building envelope, roof, insulation, and windows (including design and contingency). These energy conservation measures will result in 29,328 kWh in energy savings and $7,000 in annual savings for the building.

Read the Case Study

Seneca Village Apartments Take Part in The Green Bank’s Electric Vehicle Charger Infrastructure Program

The Affordable Multi-Family Housing Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Program (EV-CIP) uses the General Motors Climate Equity Philanthropic Grant to create a no out-of-pocket, no cost program for affordable, multi-family housing properties to install up to 2 dual charger electric vehicle charging stations.

Gaithersburg’s Seneca Village Apartments are taking part in this program by putting in two dual EV charging stations. There will be a total of 4 places designated for charging EVs.

Learn More About EV-CIP

 Held on Dec. 15: Montgomery County Green Bank Partner Appreciation Event

On December 15, the Green Bank hosted an end of the year celebration to show their appreciation to the partnerships they have worked with during the year.
                      Held on Dec. 8: Webinar – GRID Implementing Equitable Clean Mobility Investments
On December 8, the Green Bank’s Chief Investment Officer, Stephen Morel, participated in a webinar hosted by GRID Alternatives on implementing equitable clean mobility investments. The webinar covered what it means to go beyond “checking the box” for equity, and how new investment dollars, allocated to implement equitable clean mobility programs, drive measurable benefits for income-qualified households.
Held on Dec. 15: Webinar – Green Banks: Financing a Reliable Future
On December 15, the Green Bank’s Associate Director of Renewable Energy, Jordan Taylor, participated in a webinar hosted by NARUC CPI on green banks. The webinar covered if there is room for green banks to aid improvement of our electrical system reliability.
                        The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection issued a RFP 
On Friday, December 2, the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for technical contractor support and incentive administration for a countywide electrification incentive pilot program for residential properties. The solicitation number for this RFP is #1147188.  A pre-submission conference will be held on January 5, 2023, via Microsoft Teams. The RFP closes on January 16, 2023, at 3:00 PM Eastern
The Contractor must be knowledgeable about residential electrification and fuel-switching projects, be able to support an administrative help-desk to support residents with general questions, perform energy audits, perform direct installations of energy-efficient heat pumps, electric water heaters, induction/electric stoves and cooktops, and electric dryers that are currently heated with natural gas, propane, or other fossil fuels, administer prescribed financial incentives directly to residents (Contractor will recoup incentive costs with monthly invoices to the County), and report out on program performance and metrics.
Vendors interested in this RFP may log into the Central Vendor Registration System ( and register to learn more about RFP #1147188. Visit the Office of Procurement website for information on how to respond to County RFPs and more!
If you are interested in learning more about the incentives when they become available, please make sure to take the Electrify Everything Pledge and select the option to be contacted by the County’s selected installer:
Online Resources and Events
Take advantage of these resources and webinars:
Per Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) communication on October 24, 2022, the MEA offers the following resources to assist solar installation companies and sales representatives with providing information for potential Maryland residential solar consumers:
  • Federal ITC:
  • SREC Pricing:
  • Electricity Cost Increase:

Clean Energy Solutions Webinar Archive

View the library of Clean Energy Solutions webinars for topics ranging from home appliance efficiency and benchmarking to breakthrough information on achieving energy savings.

New Buildings Institute Webinar Archive

View NBI’s archive of on-demand webinar recordings on topics including codes and policies to advance net zero to zero net carbon schools.

ENERGY STAR Recorded Webinars 

Learn about the latest ENERGY STAR residential programs about advanced energy efficiency in homes, or revisit your contractor trainings for Home Performance with ENERGY STAR to refresh requirements, objectives, and strategies.

Contact us with any questions or project needs.

Join the Conversation on Social Media! 

DOE Releases a Notice of Intent for 2023 Advanced Vehicle Technologies Funding

Author: US EERE Staff     Published: 12/19/2022     EERE

U.S. Department of Energy - Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

December 15, 2022

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) announced a notice of intent to issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) entitled “Fiscal Year 2023 Vehicle Technologies Office Program Wide Funding Opportunity Announcement.” The potential FOA will advance research, development, demonstration, and deployment (RDD&D) in several areas critical to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, including:

  • Reduction of weight and cost of batteries,
  • Reduction in life cycle emissions of advanced lightweight materials,
  • Reduced costs and advanced technologies for on- and off-road vehicle charging and infrastructure,
  • Innovative public transit solutions,
  • Training to increase deployment of these technologies among diverse communities.

The RDD&D activities to be funded under this potential funding will support the government-wide approach to the climate crisis by driving innovation that can lead to the deployment of clean energy technologies. DOE anticipates including topics of interest that will support VTO’s RDD&D of new, efficient, and clean mobility options that are affordable for all Americans. As part of this approach, this prospective funding will encourage the participation of underserved communities and underrepresented groups.

DOE Announces Intent for Funding to Improve Bioenergy Feedstocks and Optimize Production of Biofuels and Biochemicals

A uthor: US EERE Staff      Published: 12/19/2022  EERE

U.S. Department of Energy - Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

December 15, 2022

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced its intent to issue two funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) in early 2023.

These potential FOAs, “Reducing Agricultural Carbon Intensity and Protecting Algal Crops (RACIPAC)” and the “2023 Conversion R&D” will enable the sustainable use of domestic biomass and waste resources to produce biofuels and bioproducts, and to advance the Biden Administration’s goal of delivering an equitable, clean energy future that puts the United States on a path to achieve net-zero emissions, economy-wide, no later than 2050.

The prospective RACIPAC FOA would support high-impact research and development (R&D) focusing on reducing the carbon intensity of agricultural feedstocks, improving soil carbon levels, and protecting cultivated algae from pests under two areas of interest:

  1. Climate-smart agricultural practices for low carbon intensity feedstocks, and
  2. Algae crop protection.

The prospective 2023 Conversion R&D FOA would support the development of technologies that convert domestic lignocellulosic biomass and waste resources—including industrial syngas—into affordable biofuels and bioproducts that significantly reduce carbon emissions under two main areas of interest:

  1. Overcoming barriers to syngas conversion, and
  2. Strategic opportunities for decarbonization of the chemicals industry through biocatalysts.

Both potential FOAs will help to meet the goals of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge, which are to reduce aviation emissions by 20% by 2030, and to produce sufficient sustainable aviation fuel to meet 100% of domestic aviation demand by 2050.

View the full NOI here.

December Updates for The People’s Community Benefit Playbook

Author: ECC Staff   Public: 12/19/2022  Emerald Cities Collaborative

I . The Justice40 Initiative: A Two Year Look Back

This January marks two years since President Biden signed Executive Order 14008: Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad establishing the Justice40 Initiative. Through this Initiative, the Biden-Harris Administration has committed to ensuring that at least 40% of key federal investments–investments in climate change, clean energy and energy efficiency, clean transit, affordable and sustainable housing, training and workforce development, remediation and reduction of legacy pollution, and the development of critical clean water infrastructure–benefit disadvantaged communities.

Since the Administration announced the Justice40 Initiative, Emerald Cities has been tracking the Administration’s efforts to embed equity throughout the way its agencies implement their programs and funding opportunities. While we are still waiting for several key Justice40 related deliverables from the White House–such as final Justice40 Implementation Guidance and the first iteration of the federal Environmental Justice Scorecard–here’s an overview of what we’ve seen thus far:

  • CEQ released their Interim Implementation Guidance outlining the initial steps each federal agency must take towards implementing the Justice40 Initiative.
  • The White House launched their Environmental Justice website to house Justice40 and Environmental Justice related news and updates.
  •  The Department of Energy (DOE) released their Justice40 General Guidance to help funding applicants understand how DOE will be integrating Justice40 into their programs and funding opportunities,
  • Federal agencies started releasing their Justice40 programs.

II. The Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool Version 1.0

Last month, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released version 1.0 of the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST). Up until this point, while available for public use, CEJST was still in its testing phase. Now that version 1.0 of CEJST has been released, federal agencies will be expected to use the interactive mapping tool to ensure Justice40 program benefits are reaching disadvantaged communities. 

The creation of CEJST was first announced within Executive Order 14008: Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad–the same Executive Order that established the Justice40 Initiative–as a means to help federal agencies identify communities that are underserved and overburdened by the impacts of climate change and historical environmental harms. However, after CEQ released the beta version of CEJST, the Tool’s accuracy was immediately called into question due its failure to consider race as an indicator to identify disadvantaged communities despite race being one of the strongest indicators of proximity to heavy pollution. 

Since version 1.0 of CEJST was released, CEQ  announced several updates in an attempt to alleviate the concerns expressed during the Tool’s testing phase. Some of the more prominent updates include the following:

  • Communities will be considered disadvantaged if they sit on lands of federally recognized Indigenous Tribes.
  • Data indicators were updated to account for redlining, the lack of green space and indoor plumbing, water pollution, and proximity to abandoned mines and formerly used defense sites.
  • Demographic data was added; however, this was added for information purposes only.

While these updates are a step in the right direction, CEJST still doesn’t use race as an indicator to identify

underserved communities and, while CEQ is working on a framework, the Tool  doesn’t have the capacity to calculate the cumulative impacts of environmental and economic harms in order to accurately identify disadvantaged communities.

If you’d like more information on the updates to CEJST, you can watch an overview of the updates here. CEQ has also indicated that they will be hosting additional opportunities for public engagement around the Tool. While CEQ has not announced any upcoming dates for public engagement sessions, you can sign up to receive updates from CEQ here

III. Resources

The White House released their Guidebook to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). This Guidebook provides a breakdown of each of the programs funded through the IRA with a high level overview of how much funding is available, the type of funding, who’s eligible for funding, how the funding can be used, and links to any relevant announcements, such as request for information or funding opportunity announcements. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created a webpage for their environmental justice related grants, funding and technical assistance opportunities. You can find that webpage here

The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released Federal Guidance on incorporating Indigenous Knowledge in federal research, policy, and decision making.

Harvard’s Environmental and Energy Law Program provided a Status Update on the Biden Administration’s climate and environmental justice initiatives.

Interested in how the Administration’s Agencies have been implementing Justice40 and incorporating Equity and Environmental Justice concerns into their Agency missions? Check out ECC’s quick reference guide here.

IV. On the Horizon

ECC Presents: The Justice40 Initiative and Opportunities for Community Benefits 

In January, Emerald Cities Collaborative will be hosting the first of a three part webinar series on building community benefits. In this first webinar, participants will gain an understanding of the Administration’s Justice40 Initiative, highlight the impacts of Justice40 on federal spending bills,– such as the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, –and  identify what tools exist to support communities’ engagement with these resources. A save the date with registration information will be coming soon!

We want to know your thoughts! Have you heard about the Justice40 Initiative and how did you hear about it? What do you know about Justice40 and do you want to know more? You can answer these questions and more in our short survey linked below.

We want to know your thoughts! Have you heard about the Justice40 Initiative and how did you hear about it? What do you know about Justice40 and do you want to know more? You can answer these questions and more in our short survey linked below.








U.S. Attempts to Redefine Relationship With Africa During Business Forum

Author: Sam P.K. Collins         Published: 12/14/2022      Washington Informer News

Okey Oramah (right), president and chairman of the African Export-Import Bank’s board of directors, signs an MOU supporting diasporic engagement in the areas of transportation, climate projects and manufacturing. (Courtesy of U.S. State Department)

Okey Oramah (right), president and chairman of the African Export-Import Bank’s board of directors, signs an MOU supporting diasporic engagement in the areas of transportation, climate projects and manufacturing. (Courtesy of U.S. State Department)

The U.S.-Africa Business Forum, which took place on the second day of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, focused mostly on how the U.S. could help African leaders leverage their countries’ natural resources to spur economic development.

Throughout much of Wednesday morning, African heads of state, along with public and private sector partners, announced deals intended to strengthen what many described as non-exploitative economic relations between the U.S. and African countries.

One such deal involves the upcoming launch of a manufacturing facility in the District.

This building, scheduled to open in Ward 7 in 2023, will facilitate a supply chain connecting the world with neem, moringa and other ingredients commonly found in plant-based products. This arrangement also opens up marketpeople in Ghana and other parts of Africa to a customer base extending well beyond their towns and villages.

Rahama Wright, former Peace Corps volunteer and CEO of Shea Yeleen Enterprises, forged this deal with the D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. This arrangement stands to benefit many Ghanaians, including Gladys Petey, a shea butter merchant from a rural community in Northern Ghana.

“We are hard-working women but many can’t go to school so we learn to make shea butter,” Petey said. “I’m happy that America can support hard-working African women to make our lives happier.”

Several African heads of state and mavens of industry gathered in the “Deal Room” of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Northwest, where, for several hours, they announced deals that had been solidified during the summit.

Inflation Reduction Act Guidebook and Briefing

Author: WHIA Staff      Published: 12/15/2022     White House Intergovernmental Affairs

Please join us today, Thursday, December 15th at 4:00 pm ET to learn about the newly released Inflation Reduction Act Guidebook. Building a Clean Energy Economy: A Guidebook to the Inflation Reduction Act’s Investments in Clean Energy and Climate Action will help state, local, territorial, and Tribal leaders, the private sector, non-profit organizations, homeowners, and communities better understand how they can benefit from these investments and unlock the full potential of the law.You will hear from:
  • John Podesta, Senior Advisor to President Biden for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation
  • Lily Batchelder, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Tax Policy
  • David Turk, Deputy Secretary of Energy
More information about the Guidebook is provided below and here.

White House Inflation Reduction Act Guidebook BriefingThursday, December 15 at 4:00 pm ETRegister Here: This call will take place in lieu of our regularly scheduled IGA Weekly Call.

Biden-⁠Harris Administration Releases Inflation Reduction Act Guidebook for Clean Energy and Climate ProgramsToday, the White House released the first edition of a new resource titled Building a Clean Energy Economy: A Guidebook to the Inflation Reduction Act’s Investments in Clean Energy and Climate Action, which provides clear descriptions of the law’s tax incentives and funding programs to build a clean energy economy, lower energy costs, tackle climate change, and reduce harmful pollution. The Guidebook will help state, local, territorial, and Tribal leaders, the private sector, non-profit organizations, homeowners, and communities better understand how they can benefit from these investments and unlock the full potential of the law. The Guidebook walks through the law program-by-program and provides background on each program’s purpose, eligibility requirements, period of availability, and other key details.

In a letter at the beginning of the Guidebook, John Podesta, President Biden’s Senior Advisor for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation, said:“When President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law in August 2022, he said the new law ‘is not just about today, it’s about tomorrow. It’s about delivering progress and prosperity to American families.’ The Inflation Reduction Act makes a historic commitment to build a new clean energy economy, powered by American innovators, American workers, and American manufacturers, that will create good-paying, union jobs and cut the pollution that is fueling the climate crisis and driving environmental injustice.”The Inflation Reduction Act Guidebook follows the successful model of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Guidebook and creates a roadmap for the clean energy and climate funding available under the law at the program level.Since President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act four months ago, his administration has been working quickly to design, develop, and implement its programs. This Guidebook provides information on current and prospective clean energy and climate programs. In the coming weeks and months, new developments will be published on to keep stakeholders and potential beneficiaries up to date on the latest deadlines and details.The Inflation Reduction Act builds on the foundational climate and clean energy investments in President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Through his historic legislative accomplishments, along with key executive actions and international leadership, the Administration is delivering on the President’s ambitious climate agenda centered on workers, families, and communities. President Biden has made transparent communication and open engagement top priorities as a means to ensure successful implementation and to fully unlock the unprecedented benefits of the law. This Guidebook is critical step toward delivering on that vision.

To view the Guidebook in full, click here.


BTO Releases BENEFIT 2022/23 Funding Opportunity for Innovations that Electrify, Optimize, and Decarbonize Building Operations

Author: EERE Staff     Published: 12/15/2022      EERE

Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

EERE Funding OpportunitiesDivider

December 15, 2022

BTO Releases BENEFIT 2022/23 Funding Opportunity for Innovations that Electrify, Optimize, and Decarbonize Building Operations

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Office (BTO) announced its Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies (BENEFIT) – 2022/23 funding opportunity announcement (FOA). This FOA will invest up to $45 million across five topic areas to research and develop high-impact, cost-effective technologies and building retrofit practices that will reduce carbon emissions, improve flexibility and resilience, and lower energy costs. BENEFIT 2022/23 will spur innovations in air conditioning, space heating, water heating; thermal and battery storage; plug loads and lighting; and the building envelope that have significant potential for equitable carbon savings, through building electrification, energy efficiency, and demand flexibility with utmost affordability at its core.

Residential and commercial buildings are the single-largest energy-consuming sector of the U.S. economy, representing approximately 39% of U.S. total energy consumption and 74% of its electricity use, which makes buildings responsible for 35% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. It is estimated that one-third or more of the energy used by buildings is wasted, and with it as much as $150 billion annually. To change this, BTO works to reduce the energy intensity and related carbon emissions of homes and commercial buildings by applying cost-effective technologies and practices, and this FOA will drive innovations that can lead to the deployment of clean energy technologies, which are critical for climate protection.

These efforts work to decarbonize buildings, and while most of the building stock can be decarbonized by 2050 using current technologies, new technologies are still required to decarbonize significant building segments, as well as to ensure that decarbonization can also reduce customer energy burdens. Technology advances can reduce the total cost of decarbonization, and technology deployment initiatives can identify technology gaps and needs. The long-term RDD&D investments this FOA makes will reduce the cost of building decarbonization and increase the quality of life for building occupants.

BTO has issued the BENEFIT FOA on a regular basis since 2014. The 2022/23 BENEFIT FOA will invest up to $15.35-$45.2 million to allow all interested parties to pursue innovations in the following topic areas.

  • Topic 1: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning and Water Heating: Technologies with improved materials, components, equipment design and engineering, lower cost manufacturing processes, and easier installation.
  • Topic 2: Thermal Energy Storage (TES): Development and validation of next-generation plug-and-play TES products with improved cost and performance and ease of installation to accelerate adoption of TES in HVAC applications.
  • Topic 3: Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS): Development, validation, and demonstration of product innovations that reduce the cost of BESS integration, improve the coordination between distributed BESS and the electrical grid, as well as help meet building decarbonization targets.
  • Topic 4: Plug Loads/Lighting: Integration of plug load controls with connected lighting systems in commercial buildings with minimal cost and complexity to support building electrification.
  • Topic 5: Opaque Building Envelope: Development, validation, and demonstration of high-impact, affordable. opaque building envelope retrofit and diagnostic technologies.

To apply to this FOA, applicants must register with and submit application materials through EERE eXCHANGE, EERE’s online application portal, at Applicants must submit a concept paper by 5 p.m. ET on February 7, 2023 to be eligible to submit a full application.


Fees from Pepco put solar panels out of reach, D.C. residents say

Author:       Published: Updated February 23, 2022 –  24, 2022 updated Washington Post


A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that all sides agreed that Pepco has the legal right to charge potential solar customers upgrade fees. Some solar customers and installers do not believe this is the case. The article has been corrected.

Alex Hillbrand and Clémentine Stip have long dreamed of installing solar panels on the roof of their rowhouse in Mount Pleasant, where sunshine shoots through the leafy canopies of Rock Creek Park, providing an abundant and sustainable source of energy that could heat their home and power their appliances.

But when Hillbrand and Stip, both 31, signed a contract last year with a solar panel installer, they received a startling letter from their utility company that could put that dream in question.

The letter from Pepco said the couple would need to pay a fee of $19,797 to upgrade the electric distribution system in their neighborhood before installing solar panels. Otherwise, the system would be unable to handle the extra power generated by their solar panels, which themselves cost about as much as Pepco’s fee.

“It was just really strange,” Hillbrand recalled. “I was not planning — and am not planning — to pay nearly $20,000.”

The Washington Post interviewed six Pepco customers in D.C., including Hillbrand, who say that significant electrical upgrade costs from Pepco are thwarting their plans to go solar — even as the District tries to combat climate change through promoting solar energy.

Solar panel use heats up as installation costs fall

Under climate legislation signed by Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) in 2019, 100 percent of the District’s electricity must come from renewable sources by 2032. And by 2041, 10 percent of that energy must come from solar power.

What you need to know about installing solar panels on your home

The upgrade fees from Pepco — which the utility says it has a legal right to charge — have affected about 15 percent of District residents who apply for a permit to install rooftop solar panels, according to a study commissioned by the Chesapeake Solar and Storage Association, which advocates for solar energy in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

The study, which was conducted by the consultancy CleanGrid Advisors, looked at hundreds of solar systems in the District proposed by five different installers. It found that Pepco imposed upgrade costs on 45 of the projects, with an average fee of $9,560 per project. The utility company also required 36 of the projects to downsize, meaning they would provide less solar energy to homeowners and the electric grid.

“Charging individuals these ludicrous upgrade fees, which appears to be pervasive in the District of Columbia, disincentivizes solar adoption,” said Sean Gallagher, vice president of state and regulatory affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association, a national trade group. “That diminishes the District’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, hurts grid reliability and adds air pollution.”

Superstores can meet half their electricity needs with rooftop solar, says a new report

Jamie Caswell, a spokeswoman for Exelon, the parent company of Pepco, said the fees for solar customers are permitted under regulations set forth by the D.C. Public Service Commission, adding that the upgrades are necessary for safety reasons.

“In some cases, the solar installation could place too much electricity … onto Pepco’s system, which could cause damage to the system or other Pepco customer appliances and devices,” Caswell said in an email. “In these cases, work is necessary to upgrade the local distribution system to safely connect the solar system to the grid.”

In an interview, David Schatz, Pepco’s director of strategy, said that the utility company is “actively participating in conversations with stakeholders” about policies to speed up the deployment of solar energy across the District.

Schatz added that Pepco’s five-year climate action plan proposes 62 programs aimed at reducing planet-warming emissions and boosting clean energy in D.C., including two programs that would streamline the approval process for residential solar projects.

Sign up for The Climate 202, a daily newsletter about climate change delivered straight to your inbox

Frustrated by the fees, some D.C. residents, such as Hillbrand, are pushing back. On Jan. 3, Hillbrand filed a formal complaint with the D.C. Public Service Commission to compel Pepco to lower the upgrade cost it was charging. The Office of the People’s Counsel, which advocates on behalf of D.C. customers in disputes with the commission, is representing him in the proceedings.

Cary Hinton, a spokesman for the Public Service Commission, declined to comment on Hillbrand’s complaint. But he noted that the commission on Jan. 28 issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to consider whether to require that utility companies pay 50 percent of the costs, up to $5,000 per project.

Caswell said Pepco is “engaged in open, public discussion with DCPSC Staff and solar developers to help advance interconnection processes and reduce costs for customers when system upgrades are required. We support the current move toward cost sharing.”

For JD Elkurd, the chief executive of Solar Solution, the largest solar installer in the District, the proposed rulemaking is a good start — but it’s not enough. He estimated that about half of customers who are informed of upgrade fees decide not to move forward with their installations.

“This is really hurting our business substantially,” Elkurd said. “As a solar company, we have to spend about $1,000 to $1,200 on a project before it even gets to the Pepco application part. And if the project is canceled, we’re never getting that back.”

Under a policy known as net metering, solar system owners can send the excess electricity that they generate back to the grid and receive credits on their energy bills, chipping away at utility companies’ profits. As solar energy becomes more widespread, this policy is drawing increased scrutiny from utilities across the country.

In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has faced pressure to gut the program from utilities including Pacific Gas and Electric. The state Public Utilities Commission in December proposed major changes to the program that critics said would halt the growth of solar statewide.

Three state-level climate fights to watch this year

After pushback from solar advocates and celebrities, including former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), the commission postponed a vote on the proposal. A new date has not been set.

“At the bottom of a lot of what’s happening with net metering, I think utilities are concerned that their generation is going to be replaced by self-generation. And as the price of solar panels drops, the rate of installation will go up,” said Dan Reicher, who led the Energy Department’s energy efficiency and renewable energy office under President Bill Clinton.
Reicher added that when he and his wife became the first people in the D.C. area to install legally grid-connected, net-metered solar panels more than two decades ago, Pepco was “very, very supportive.”

Today, however, even fees from Pepco on the lower end of the spectrum can stifle solar adoption.

Kendra Kinnaird, 40, an attorney who lives in a rowhouse in Crestwood, said that Pepco told her and her husband it would impose a fee of about $5,300 — an amount that she called “significant and cost-prohibitive.” The couple have paused their plans to go solar for the time being.

“Solar energy and other types of sustainable energy are important for the environment. We want to support that,” Kinnaird said. “So it’s been very frustrating, and I hope that there’s a positive resolution.”

Structural Adjustment: How The IMF And World Bank Repress Poor Countries And Funnel Their Resources To Rich Ones

Author:          Published: 11/30/2022          Bitcoin Magazine

The IMF and World Bank do not seek to fix poverty, but only to enrich creditor nations. Could Bitcoin create a better global economic system for the developing world?

I. The Shrimp Fields

“Everything is gone.”

–Kolyani Mondal


Fifty-two years ago, Cyclone Bhola killed an estimated 1 million people in coastal Bangladesh. It is, to this day, the deadliest tropical cyclone in recorded history. Local and international authorities knew well the catastrophic risks of such storms: in the 1960s, regional officials had built a massive array of dikes to protect the coastline and open up more territory for farming. But in the 1980s after the assassination of independence leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, foreign influence pushed a new autocratic Bangladeshi regime to change course. Concern for human life was dismissed and the public’s protection against storms was weakened, all in order to boost exports to repay debt.

Instead of reinforcing the local mangrove forests which naturally protected the one-third of the population that lived near the coast, and instead of investing in growing food to feed the quickly growing nation, the government took out loans from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in order to expand shrimp farming. The aquaculture process — controlled by a network of wealthy elites linked to the regime — involved pushing farmers to take out loans to “upgrade” their operations by drilling holes in the dikes that protected their land from the ocean, filling their once-fertile fields with saltwater. Then, they would work back-breaking hours to hand-harvest young shrimp from the ocean, drag them back to their stagnant ponds, and sell the mature ones to the local shrimp lords.

With financing from the World Bank and IMF, countless farms and their surrounding wetlands and mangrove forests were engineered into shrimp ponds known as ghers. The area’s Ganges river delta is an incredibly fertile place, home to the Sundarbans, the world’s biggest stretch of mangrove forest. But as a result of commercial shrimp farming becoming the region’s main economic activity, 45% of the mangroves have been cut away, leaving millions of people exposed to the 10-meter waves that can crash against the coast during major cyclones. Arable land and river life has been slowly destroyed by excess salinity leaking in from the sea. Entire forests have vanished as shrimp farming has killed much of the area’s vegetation, “rendering this once bountiful land into a watery desert,” according to Coastal Development Partnership.

farm in Khuna province, flooded to make shrimp fields

The shrimp lords, however, have made a fortune, and shrimp (known as “white gold”) has become the country’s second-largest export. As of 2014, more than 1.2 million Bangladeshis worked in the shrimp industry, with 4.8 million people indirectly dependent on it, roughly half of the coastal poor. The shrimp collectors, who have the toughest job, make up 50% of the labor force but only see 6% of the profit. Thirty percent of them are girls and boys engaged in child labor, who work as much as nine hours a day in the salt water, for less than $1 per day, with many giving up school and remaining illiterate to do so. Protests against the expansion of shrimp farming have happened, only to be put down violently. In one prominent case, a march was attacked with explosives from shrimp lords and their thugs, and a woman named Kuranamoyee Sardar was decapitated.

In a 2007 research paper, 102 Bangladeshi shrimp farms were surveyed, revealing that, out of a cost of production of $1,084 per hectare, the net income was $689. The nation’s export-driven profits came at the expense of the shrimp laborers, whose wages were deflated and whose environment was destroyed.

In a report by the Environmental Justice Foundation, a coastal farmer named Kolyani Mondal said that she “used to farm rice and keep livestock and poultry,” but after shrimp harvesting was imposed, “her cattle and goats developed diarrhea-type disease and together with her hens and ducks, all died.”

Now her fields are flooded with salt water, and what remains is barely productive: years ago her family could generate “18-19 mon of rice per hectare,” but now they can only generate one. She remembers shrimp farming in her area beginning in the 1980s, when villagers were promised more income as well as lots of food and crops, but now “everything is gone.” The shrimp farmers who use her land promised to pay her $140 per year, but she says the best she gets are “occasional installments of $8 here or there.” In the past, she says, “the family got most of the things they needed from the land, but now there are no alternatives but going to the market to buy food.”,of%20doing%20business.

II. Inside The World Bank And IMF

“Let us remember that the main purpose of aid is not to help other nations but to help ourselves.” 

Richard Nixon

The IMF is the world’s international lender of last resort, and the World Bank is the world’s largest development bank. Their work is carried out on behalf of their major creditors, which historically have been the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan.

The IMF and World Bank offices in Washington, DC

The sister organizations — physically joined together at their headquarters in Washington, DC — were created at the Bretton Woods Conference in New Hampshire in 1944 as two pillars of the new U.S.-led global monetary order. Per tradition, the World Bank is headed by an American, and the IMF by a European.

Their initial purpose was to help rebuild war-torn Europe and Japan, with the Bank to focus on specific loans for development projects, and the Fund to address balance-of-payment issues via “bailouts” to keep trade flowing even if countries couldn’t afford more imports.

Nations are required to join the IMF in order to get access to the “perks” of the World Bank. Today, there are 190 member states: each one deposited a mix of their own currency plus “harder currency” (typically dollars, European currencies or gold) when they joined, creating a pool of reserves.

When members encounter chronic balance-of-payments issues, and cannot make loan repayments, the Fund offers them credit from the pool at varying multiples of what they initially deposited, on increasingly expensive terms.

The Fund is technically a supranational central bank, as since 1969 it has minted its own currency: the special drawing rights (SDR), whose value is based on a basket of the world’s top currencies. Today, the SDR is backed by 45% dollars, 29% euros, 12% yuan, 7% yen and 7% pounds. The total lending capacity of the IMF today stands at $1 trillion.

Between 1960 and 2008, the Fund largely focused on assisting developing countries with short-term, high-interest-rate loans. Because the currencies issued by developing countries are not freely convertible, they usually cannot be redeemed for goods or services abroad. Developing states must instead earn hard currency through exports. Unlike the U.S., which can simply issue the global reserve currency, countries like Sri Lanka and Mozambique often run out of money. At that point, most governments — especially authoritarian ones — prefer the quick fix of borrowing against their country’s future from the Fund.

As for the Bank, it states that its job is to provide credit to developing countries to “reduce poverty, increase shared prosperity, and promote sustainable development.” The Bank itself is split up into five parts, ranging from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), which focuses on more traditional “hard” loans to the larger developing countries (think Brazil or India) to the International Development Association (IDA), which focuses on “soft” interest-free loans with long grace periods for the poorest countries. The IBRD makes money in part through the Cantillon effect: by borrowing on favorable terms from its creditors and private market participants who have more direct access to cheaper capital and then loaning out those funds at higher terms to poor countries who lack that access.

World Bank loans traditionally are project- or sector-specific, and have focused on facilitating the raw export of commodities (for example: financing the roads, tunnels, dams, and ports needed to get minerals out of the ground and into international markets) and on transforming traditional consumption agriculture into industrial agriculture or aquaculture so that countries could export more food and goods to the West.

Bank and Fund member states do not have voting power based on their population. Rather, influence was crafted seven decades ago to favor the U.S., Europe and Japan over the rest of the world. That dominance has only weakened mildly in recent years.

Today the U.S. still owns far and away the largest vote share, at 15.6% of the Bank and 16.5% of the Fund, enough to single-handedly veto any major decision, which requires 85% of votes at either institution. Japan owns 7.35% of the votes at the Bank and 6.14% at the Fund; Germany 4.21% and 5.31%; France and the U.K. 3.87% and 4.03% each; and Italy 2.49% and 3.02%.

By contrast, India with its 1.4 billion people only has 3.04% of the Bank’s vote and just 2.63% at the Fund: less power than its former colonial master despite having a population 20 times bigger. China’s 1.4 billion people get 5.7% at the Bank and 6.08% at the fund, roughly the same share as the Netherlands plus Canada and Australia. Brazil and Nigeria, the largest countries in Latin America and Africa, have about the same amount of sway as Italy, a former imperial power in full decline.

Tiny Switzerland with just 8.6 million people has 1.47% of votes at the World Bank, and 1.17% of votes at the IMF: roughly the same share as Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Ethiopia combined, despite having 90 times fewer people.

Population vs. IMF voting rights

These voting shares are supposed to approximate each country’s share of the world economy, but their imperial-era structure helps color how decisions are made. Sixty-five years after decolonization, the industrial powers led by the U.S. continue to have more or less total control over global trade and lending, while the poorest countries have in effect no voice at all.

The G-5 (the U.S., Japan, Germany, the U.K. and France) dominate the IMF executive board, even though they make up a relatively small percent of the world’s population. The G-10 plus Ireland, Australia, and Korea make up more than 50% of the votes, meaning that with a little pressure on its allies, the U.S. can make determinations even on specific loan decisions, which require a majority.

To complement the IMF’s trillion-dollar lending power, the World Bank group claims more than $350 billion in outstanding loans across more than 150 countries. This credit has spiked over the past two years, as the sister organizations have lent hundreds of billions of dollars to governments who locked down their economies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the past few months, the Bank and Fund began orchestrating billion-dollar deals to “save” governments endangered by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest rate hikes. These clients are often human rights violators who borrow without permission from their citizens, who will ultimately be the ones responsible for paying back principal plus interest on the loans. The IMF is currently bailing out Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah El-Sisi — responsible for the largest massacre of protestors since Tiananmen Square — for example, with $3 billion. Meanwhile, the World Bank was, during the past year, disbursing a $300 million loan to an Ethiopian government that was committing genocide in Tigray.

The cumulative effect of Bank and Fund policies is much larger than the paper amount of their loans, as their lending drives bilateral assistance. It is estimated that “every dollar provided to the Third World by the IMF unlocks a further four to seven dollars of new loans and refinancing from commercial banks and rich-country governments.” Similarly, if the Bank and Fund refuse to lend to a particular country, the rest of the world typically follows suit.

It is hard to overstate the vast impact the Bank and Fund have had across developing nations, especially in their formative decades after World War II. By 1990 and the end of the Cold War, the IMF had extended credit to 41 countries in Africa, 28 countries in Latin America, 20 countries in Asia, eight countries in the Middle East and five countries in Europe, affecting 3 billion people, or what was then two-thirds of the global population. The World Bank has extended loans to more than 160 countries. They remain the most important international financial institutions on the planet.

III. Structural Adjustment

“Adjustment is an ever new and never-ending task”

Otmar Emminger, former IMF director and creator of SDR

Today, financial headlines are filled with stories about IMF visits to countries like Sri Lanka and Ghana. The outcome is that the Fund loans billions of dollars to countries in crisis in exchange for what is known as structural adjustment.

In a structural-adjustment loan, borrowers not only have to pay back principal plus interest: they also have to agree to change their economies according to Bank and Fund demands. These requirements almost always stipulate that clients maximize exports at the expense of domestic consumption.

During research for this essay, the author learned much from the work of the development scholar Cheryl Payer, who wrote landmark books and papers on the influence of the Bank and Fund in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. This author may disagree with Payer’s “solutions” — which, like those of most critics of the Bank and Fund, tend to be socialist — but many observations she makes about the global economy hold true regardless of ideology.

“It is an explicit and basic aim of IMF programs,” she wrote, “to discourage local consumption in order to free resources for export.”

This point cannot be stressed enough.

The official narrative is that the Bank and Fund were designed to “foster sustainable economic growth, promote higher standards of living, and reduce poverty.” But the roads and dams the Bank builds are not designed to help improve transport and electricity for locals, but rather to make it easy for multinational corporations to extract wealth. And the bailouts the IMF provides aren’t to “save” a country from bankruptcy — which would probably be the best thing for it in many cases — but rather to allow it to pay its debt with even more debt, so that the original loan doesn’t turn into a hole on a Western bank’s balance sheet.

In her books on the Bank and Fund, Payer describes how the institutions claim that their loan conditionality enables borrowing countries “to achieve a healthier balance of trade and payments.” But the real purpose, she says, is “to bribe the governments to prevent them from making the economic changes which would make them more independent and self-supporting.” When countries pay back their structural adjustment loans, debt service is prioritized, and domestic spending is to be “adjusted” downwards.

IMF loans were often allocated through a mechanism called the “stand-by agreement,” a line of credit that released funds only as the borrowing government claimed to achieve certain objectives. From Jakarta to Lagos to Buenos Aires, IMF staff would fly in (always first or business class) to meet undemocratic rulers and offer them millions or billions of dollars in exchange for following their economic playbook.

Typical IMF demands would include:

  1. Currency devaluation
  2. Abolition or reduction of foreign exchange and import controls
  3. Shrinking of domestic bank credit
  4. Higher interest rates
  5. Increased taxes
  6. An end to consumer subsidies on food and energy
  7. Wage ceilings
  8. Restrictions on government spending, especially in healthcare and education
  9. Favorable legal conditions and incentives for multinational corporations
  10. Selling off state enterprises and claims on natural resources at fire sale prices

The World Bank had its own playbook, too. Payer gives examples:

  1. The opening up of previously remote regions through transportation and telecommunications investments
  2. Aiding multinational corporations in the mining sector
  3. Insisting on production for export
  4. Pressuring borrowers to improve legal privileges for the tax liabilities of foreign investment
  5. Opposing minimum wage laws and trade union activity
  6. Ending protections for locally-owned businesses
  7. Financing projects that appropriate land, water and forests from poor people and hand them to multinational corporations
  8. Shrinking manufacturing and food production at the expense of the export of natural resources and raw goods

Third World governments have historically been forced to agree to a mix of these policies — sometimes known as the “Washington Consensus” — in order to trigger the ongoing release of Bank and Fund loans.

The former colonial powers tend to focus their “development” lending on former colonies or areas of influence: France in West Africa, Japan in Indonesia, Britain in East Africa and South Asia and the U.S. in Latin America. A notable example is the CFA zone, where 180 million people in 15 African countries are still forced to use a French colonial currency. At the suggestion of the IMF, in 1994 France devalued the CFA by 50%, devastating the savings and purchasing power of tens of millions of people living in countries ranging from Senegal to Ivory Coast to Gabon, all to make raw goods exports more competitive

The outcome of Bank and Fund policies on the Third World has been remarkably similar to what was experienced under traditional imperialism: wage deflation, a loss of autonomy and agricultural dependency. The big difference is that in the new system, the sword and the gun have been replaced by weaponized debt.

Over the last 30 years, structural adjustment has intensified with regard to the average number of conditions in loans extended by the Bank and Fund. Before 1980, the Bank did not generally make structural adjustment loans, most everything was project- or sector-specific. But since then, “spend this however you want” bailout loans with economic quid pro quos have become a growing part of Bank policy. For the IMF, they are its lifeblood.

For example, when the IMF bailed out South Korea and Indonesia with $57 billion and $43 billion packages during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, it imposed heavy conditionality. Borrowers had to sign agreements that “looked more like Christmas trees than contracts, with anywhere from 50 to 80 detailed conditions covering everything from the deregulation of garlic monopolies to taxes on cattle feed and new environmental laws,” according to political scientist Mark S. Copelvitch.

A 2014 analysis showed that the IMF had attached, on average, 20 conditions to each loan it gave out in the previous two years, a historic increase. Countries like Jamaica, Greece and Cyprus have borrowed in recent years with an average of 35 conditions each. It is worth noting that Bank and Fund conditions have never included protections on free speech or human rights, or restrictions on military spending or police violence.

An added twist of Bank and Fund policy is what is known as the “double loan”: money is lent to build, for example, a hydroelectric dam, but most if not all of the money gets paid to Western companies. So, the Third World taxpayer is saddled with principal and interest, and the North gets paid back double.

The context for the double loan is that dominant states extend credit through the Bank and Fund to former colonies, where local rulers often spend the new cash directly back to multinational companies who profit from advising, construction or import services. The ensuing and required currency devaluation, wage controls and bank credit tightening imposed by Bank and Fund structural adjustment disadvantage local entrepreneurs who are stuck in a collapsing and isolated fiat system, and benefit multinationals who are dollar, euro or yen native.

Another key source for this author has been the masterful book “The Lords of Poverty” by historian Graham Hancock, written to reflect on the first five decades of Bank and Fund policy and foreign assistance in general.

“The World Bank,” Hancock writes, “is the first to admit that out of every $10 that it receives, around $7 are in fact spent on goods and services from the rich industrialized countries.”

In the 1980s, when Bank funding was expanding rapidly around the world, he noted that “for every US tax dollar contributed, 82 cents are immediately returned to American businesses in the form of purchase orders.” This dynamic applies not just to loans but also to aid. For example, when the U.S. or Germany sends a rescue plane to a country in crisis, the cost of transport, food, medicine and staff salaries are added to what is known as ODA, or “official development assistance.” On the books, it looks like aid and assistance. But most of the money is paid right back to Western companies and not invested locally.

Reflecting on the Third World Debt Crisis of the 1980s, Hancock noted that “70 cents out of every dollar of American assistance never actually left the United States.” The U.K., for its part, spent a whopping 80% of its aid during that time directly on British goods and services.

“One year,” Hancock writes, “British tax-payers provided multilateral aid agencies with 495 million pounds; in the same year, however, British firms received contracts worth 616 million pounds.” Hancock said that multilateral agencies could be “relied upon to purchase British goods and services with a value equivalent to 120% of Britain’s total multilateral contribution.”

One starts to see how the “aid and assistance” we tend to think of as charitable is really quite the opposite.

And as Hancock points out, foreign-aid budgets always increase no matter the outcome. Just as progress is evidence that the aid is working, a “lack of progress is evidence that the dosage has been insufficient and must be increased.”

Some development advocates, he writes, “argue that it would be inexpedient to deny aid to the speedy (those who advance); others, that it would be cruel to deny it to the needy (those who stagnate). Aid is thus like champagne: in success you deserve it, in failure you need it.”

IV. The Debt Trap

“The concept of the Third World or the South and the policy of official aid are inseparable. They are two sides of the same coin. The Third World is the creation of the foreign aid: without foreign aid there is no Third World.” 

Péter Tamás Bauer

According to the World Bank, its objective is “to help raise living standards in developing countries by channeling financial resources from developed countries to the developing world.”

But what if the reality is the opposite?

At first, beginning in the 1960s, there was an enormous flow of resources from rich countries to poor ones. This was ostensibly done to help them develop. Payer writes that it was long considered “natural” for capital to “flow in one direction only from the developed industrial economies to the Third World.”

Net resource transfers from developing countries: increasingly negative since 1982

To give an example of what this might look like in a given year, in 2012 developing countries received $1.3 trillion, including all income, aid and investment. But that same year, more than $3.3 trillion flowed out. In other words, according to anthropologist Jason Hickel, “developing countries sent $2 trillion more to the rest of the world than they received.”

When all the flows were added up from 1960 to 2017, a grim truth emerged: $62 trillion was drained out of the developing world, the equivalent of 620 Marshall Plans in today’s dollars.

The IMF and World Bank were supposed to fix balance of payments issues, and help poor countries grow stronger and more sustainable. The evidence has been the direct opposite.

“For every $1 of aid that developing countries receive,” Hickel writes, “they lose $24 in net outflows.” Instead of ending exploitation and unequal exchange, studies show that structural adjustment policies grew them in a massive way.

Since 1970, the external public debt of developing countries has increased from $46 billion to $8.7 trillion. In the past 50 years, countries like India and the Philippines and the Congo now owe their former colonial masters 189 times the amount they owed in 1970. They have paid $4.2 trillion on interest payments alone since 1980.

The exponential rise in developing country debt

Even Payer — whose 1974 book “The Debt Trap” used economic flow data to show how the IMF ensnared poor countries by encouraging them to borrow more than they could possibly pay back — would be shocked at the size of today’s debt trap.

Her observation that “the average citizen of the US or Europe may not be aware of this enormous drain in capital from parts of the world they think of as being pitifully poor” still rings true today. To this author’s own shame, he did not know about the true nature of the global flow of funds and simply assumed that rich countries subsidized poor ones before embarking on the research for this project. The end result is a literal Ponzi scheme, where by the 1970s, Third World debt was so big that it was only possible to service with new debt. It has been the same ever since.

Many critics of the Bank and Fund assume that these institutions are working with their heart in the right place, and when they do fail, it is because of mistakes, waste or mismanagement.

It is the thesis of this essay that this is not true, and that the foundational goals of the Fund and Bank are not to fix poverty but rather to enrich creditor nations at the expense of poor ones.

This author is simply not willing to believe that a permanent flow of funds from poor countries to rich ones since 1982 is a “mistake.” The reader may dispute that the arrangement is intentional, and rather may believe it is an unconscious structural outcome. The difference hardly matters to the billions of people the Bank and Fund have impoverished.

V. Replacing the Colonial Resource Drain

“I am so tired of waiting. Aren’t you, for the world to become good and beautiful and kind? Let us take a knife and cut the world in two — and see what worms are eating at the rind.”

Langston Hughes

By the end of the 1950s, Europe and Japan had largely recovered from war and resumed significant industrial growth, while Third World countries ran out of funds. Despite having healthy balance sheets in the 1940s and early 1950s, poor, raw-material-exporting countries ran into balance-of-payments issues as the value of their commodities tanked in the wake of the Korean War. This is when the debt trap began, and when the Bank and Fund started the floodgates of what would end up becoming trillions of dollars of lending.

This era also marked the official end of colonialism, as European empires drew back from their imperial possessions. The establishment assumption in international development is that the economic success of nations is due “primarily to their internal, domestic conditions. High-income countries have achieved economic success,” the theory goes, “because of good governance, strong institutions and free markets. Lower-income countries have failed to develop because they lack these things, or because they suffer from corruption, red tape and inefficiency.”

This is certainly true. But another major reason why rich countries are rich and poor countries are poor is that the former looted the latter for hundreds of years during the colonial period.

“Britain’s industrial revolution,” Jason Hickel writes, “depended in large part on cotton, which was grown on land forcibly appropriated from Indigenous Americans, with labor appropriated from enslaved Africans. Other crucial inputs required by British manufacturers — hemp, timber, iron, grain — were produced using forced labor on serf estates in Russia and Eastern Europe. Meanwhile, British extraction from India and other colonies funded more than half the country’s domestic budget, paying for roads, public buildings, the welfare state — all the markets of modern development — while enabling the purchase of material inputs necessary for industrialization.”

The theft dynamic was described by Utsa and Prabhat Patnaik in their book “Capital And Imperialism”: colonial powers like the British empire would use violence to extract raw materials from weak countries, creating a “colonial drain” of capital that boosted and subsidized life in London, Paris and Berlin. Industrial nations would transform these raw materials into manufactured goods, and sell them back to weaker nations, profiting massively while also crowding out local production. And — critically — they would keep inflation at home down by suppressing wages in the colonial territories. Either through outright slavery or through paying well below theglobal marketrate.

As the colonial system began to falter, the Western financial world faced a crisis. The Patnaiks argue that the Great Depression was a result not simply of changes in Western monetary policy, but also of the colonial drain slowing down. The reasoning is simple: rich countries had built a conveyor belt of resources flowing from poor countries, and when the belt broke, so did everything else. Between the 1920s and 1960s, political colonialism became virtually extinct. Britain, the U.S., Germany, France, Japan, the Netherlands, Belgium and other empires were forced to give up control over more than half of the world’s territory and resources.

As the Patnaiks write, imperialism is “an arrangement for imposing income deflation on the Third World population in order to get their primary commodities without running into the problem of increasing supply price.”

Post 1960, this became the new function for the World Bank and IMF: recreating the drain from poor countries to rich countries that was once maintained by straight for ward impearlism.

Post-colonial drain from the Global South to the Global North

Officials in the U.S., Europe and Japan wanted to achieve “internal equilibrium” — in other words, full employment. But they realized they could not do this via subsidy inside an isolated system, or else inflation would run rampant. To achieve their goal would require external input from poorer countries. The extra surplus value extracted by the core from workers in the periphery is known as “imperialist rent.” If industrial countries could get cheaper materials and labor, and then sell the finished goods back at a profit, they could inch closer to the technocrat dream economy. And they got their wish: as of 2019, wages paid to workers in the developing world were 20% the level of wages paid to workers in the developed world.

As an example of how the Bank recreated the colonial drain dynamic, Payer gives the classic case of 1960s Mauritania in northwest Africa. A mining project called MIFERMA was signed by French occupiers before the colony became independent. The deal eventually became “just an old-fashioned enclave project: a city in a desert and a railroad leading to the ocean,” as the infrastructure was solely focused on spiriting minerals away to international markets. In 1969, when the mine accounted for 30% of Mauritania’s GDP and 75% of its exports, 72% of the income was sent abroad, and “practically all the income distributed locally to employees evaporated in imports.” When the miners protested against the neocolonial arrangement, security forces savagely put them down.

Geography of the drain from the Global South from 1960 to 2017

MIFERMA is a stereotypical example of the kind of “development” that would be imposed on the Third World everywhere from the Dominican Republic to Madagascar to Cambodia. And all of these projects rapidly expanded in the 1970s, thanks to the petrodollar system.

Post-1973, Arab OPEC countries with enormous surpluses from skyrocketing oil prices sank their profits into deposits and treasuries in Western banks, which needed a place to lend out their growing resources. Military dictators across Latin America, Africa and Asia made great targets: they had high time preferences and were happy to borrow against future generations.

Helping expedite loan growth was the “IMF put”: private banks started to believe (correctly) that the IMF would bail out countries if they defaulted, protecting their investments. Moreover, interest rates in the mid-1970s were often in negative real territory, further encouraging borrowers. This — combined with World Bank president Robert McNamara’s insistence that assistance expand dramatically — resulted in a debt frenzy. U.S. banks, for example, increased their Third World loan portfolio by 300% to $450 billion between 1978 and 1982.

The problem was that these loans were in large part floating interest rate agreements, and a few years later, those rates exploded as the U.S. Federal Reserve raised the global cost of capital close to 20%. The growing debt burden combined with the 1979 oil price shock and the ensuing global collapse in the price of commodities that power the value of developing country exports paved the way for the Third World Debt Crisis. To make matters worse, very little of the money borrowed by governments during the debt frenzy was actually invested in the average citizen.

Third World debt service over time

In their aptly named book “Debt Squads,” investigative journalists Sue Branford and Bernardo Kucinski explain that between 1976 and 1981, Latin governments (of which 18 of 21 were dictatorships) borrowed $272.9 billion. Out of that, 91.6% was spent on debt servicing, capital flight and building up regime reserves. Only 8.4% was used on domestic investment, and even out of that, much was wasted.

Brazilian civil society advocate Carlos Ayuda vividly described the effect of the petrodollar-fueled drain on his own country:

“The military dictatorship used the loans to invest in huge infrastructure projects — particularly energy projects… the idea behind creating an enormous hydroelectric dam and plant in the middle of the Amazon, for example, was to produce aluminum for export to the North… the government took out huge loans and invested billions of dollars in building the Tucuruí dam in the late 1970s, destroying native forests and removing massive numbers of native peoples and poor rural people that had lived there for generations. The government would have razed the forests, but the deadlines were so short they used Agent Orange to defoliate the region and then submerged the leafless tree trunks underwater… the hydroelectric plant’s energy [was then] sold at $13-20 per megawatt when the actual price of production was $48. So the taxpayers provided subsidies, financing cheap energy for transnational corporations to sell our aluminum in the international market.”

In other words, the Brazilian people paid foreign creditors for the service of destroying their environment, displacing the masses and selling their resources.

Today the drain from low- and middle-income countries is staggering. In 2015, it totaled 10.1 billion tons of raw materials and 182 million person-years of labor: 50% of all goods and 28% of all labor used that year by high-income countries.

VI. A Dance With Dictators

“He may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.” 

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Of course, it takes two sides to finalize a loan from the Bank or Fund. The problem is that the borrower is typically an unelected or unaccountable leader, who makes the decision without consulting with and without a popular mandate from their citizens.

As Payer writes in “The Debt Trap,” “IMF programs are politically unpopular, for the very good concrete reasons that they hurt local business and depress the real income of the electorate. A government which attempts to carry out the conditions in its Letter of Intent to the IMF is likely to find itself voted out of office.”

Hence, the IMF prefers to work with undemocratic clients who can more easily dismiss troublesome judges and put down street protests. According to Payer, the military coups in Brazil in 1964, Turkey in 1960, Indonesia in 1966, Argentina in 1966 and the Philippines in 1972 were examples of IMF-opposed leaders being forcibly replaced by IMF-friendly ones. Even if the Fund wasn’t directly involved in the coup, in each of these cases, it arrived enthusiastically a few days, weeks or months later to help the new regime implement structural adjustment.

The Bank and Fund share a willingness to support abusive governments. Perhaps surprisingly, it was the Bank that started the tradition. According to development researcher Kevin Danaher, “the Bank’s sad record of supporting military regimes and governments that openly violated human rights began on August 7, 1947, with a $195 million reconstruction loan to the Netherlands. Seventeen days before the Bank approved the loan, the Netherlands had unleashed a war against anti-colonialist nationalist in its huge overseas empire in the East Indies, which had already declared its independence as the Republic of Indonesia.”

“The Dutch,” Danaher writes, “sent 145,000 troops (from a nation with only 10 million inhabitants at the time, economically struggling at 90% of 1939 production) and launched a total economic blockade of nationalist-held areas, causing considerable hunger and health problems among Indonesia’s 70 million inhabitants.”

In its first few decades the Bank funded many such colonial schemes, including $28 million for apartheid Rhodesia in 1952, as well as loans to Australia, the United Kingdom, and Belgium to “develop” colonial possessions in Papua New Guinea, Kenya and the Belgian Congo.

In 1966, the Bank directly defied the United Nations, “continuing to lend money to South Africa and Portugal despite resolutions of the General Assembly calling on all UN-affiliated agencies to cease financial support for both countries,” according to Danaher.

Danaher writes that “Portugal’s colonial domination of Angola and Mozambique and South Africa’s apartheid were flagrant violations of the UN charter. But the Bank argued that Article IV, Section 10 of its Charter which prohibits interference in the political affairs of any member, legally obliged it to disregard the UN resolutions. As a result the Bank approved loans of $10 million to Portugal and $20 million to South Africa after the UN resolution was passed.”

Sometimes, the Bank’s preference for tyranny was stark: it cut off lending to the democratically-elected Allende government in Chile in the early 1970s, but shortly after began to lend huge quantities of cash to Ceausescu’s Romania, one of the world’s worst police states. This is also an example of how the Bank and Fund, contrary to popular belief, didn’t simply lend along Cold War ideological lines: for every right-wing Augusto Pinochet Ugarte or Jorge Rafael Videla client, there was a left-wing Josip Broz Tito or Julius Nyerere.

In 1979, Danaher notes, 15 of the world’s most repressive governments would receive a full third of all Bank loans. This even after the U.S. Congress and the Carter administration had stopped aid to four of the 15 — Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Ethiopia — for “flagrant human rights violations.” Just a few years later, in El Salvador, the IMF made a $43 million loan to the military dictatorship, just a few months after its forces committed the largest massacre in Cold War-era Latin America by annihilating the village of El Mozote.

There were several books written about the Bank and the Fund in 1994, timed as 50-year retrospectives on the Bretton Woods institutions. “Perpetuating Poverty” by Ian Vàsquez and Doug Bandow is one of those studies, and is a particularly valuable one as it provides a Libertarian analysis. Most critical studies of the Bank and Fund are from the left: but the Cato Institute’s Vásquez and Bandow saw many of the same problems.

“The Fund underwrites any government,” they write, “however venal and brutal… China owed the Fund $600 million as of the end of 1989; in January 1990, just a few months after the blood had dried in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, the IMF held a seminar on monetary policy in the city.”

Vásquez and Bandow mention other tyrannical clients ranging from military Burma, to Pinochet’s Chile, Laos, Nicaragua under Anastasio Somoza Debayle and the Sandinistas, Syria, and Vietnam.

“The IMF,” they say, “has rarely met a dictatorship that it did not like.”

Vásquez and Bandow detail the Bank’s relationship with the Marxist-Leninist Mengistu Haile Mariam regime in Ethiopia, where it provided for as much as 16% of the government’s annual budget while it had one of the worst human rights records in the world. The Bank’s credit arrived just as Mengistu’s forces were “herding people into concentration camps and collective farms.” They also point out how the Bank gave the Sudanese regime $16 million while it was driving 750,000 refugees out of Khartoum into the desert, and how it gave hundreds of millions of dollars to Iran — a brutal theocratic dictatorship — and Mozambique, whose security forces were infamous for torture, rape and summary executions.

In his 2011 book “Defeating Dictators,” the celebrated Ghanaian development economist George Ayittey detailed a long list of “aid-receiving autocrats”: Paul Biya, Idriss Déby, Lansana Conté, Paul Kagame, Yoweri Museveni, Hun Sen, Islam Karimov, Nursultan Nazarbayev and Emomali Rahmon. He pointed out that the Fund had dispensed $75 billion to these nine tyrants alone.

In 2014, a report was released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, alleging that the Ethiopian government had used part of a $2 billion Bank loan to forcibly relocate 37,883 indigenous Anuak families. This was 60% of the country’s entire Gambella province. Soldiers “beat, raped, and killed” Anuak who refused to leave their homes. Atrocities were so bad that South Sudan granted refugee status to Anuaks streaming in from neighboring Ethiopia. A Human Rights Watch report said that the stolen land was then “leased by the government to investors” and that the Bank’s money was “used to pay the salaries of government officials who helped carry out the evictions.” The Bank approved new funding for this “villagization” program even after allegations of mass human rights violations emerged.

Mobutu Sese Soko and Richard Nixon at the White House in 1973

It would be a mistake to leave Mobutu Sese Soko’s Zaire out of this essay. The recipient of billions of dollars of Bank and Fund credit during his bloody 32-year reign, Mobutu pocketed 30% of incoming aid and assistance and let his people starve. He complied with 11 IMF structural adjustments: during one in 1984, 46,000 public school teachers were fired and the national currency was devalued by 80%. Mobutu called this austerity “a bitter pill which we have no alternative but to swallow,” but didn’t sell any of his 51 Mercedes, any of his 11 chateaus in Belgium or France, or even his Boeing 747 or 16th century Spanish castle.

Per capita income declined in each year of his rule on average by 2.2%, leaving more than 80% of the population in absolute poverty. Children routinely died before the age of five, and swollen-belly syndrome was rampant. It is estimated that Mobutu personally stole $5 billion, and presided over another $12 billion in capital flight, which together would have been more than enough to wipe the country’s $14 billion debt clean at the time of his ouster. He looted and terrorized his people, and could not have done it without the Bank and Fund, which continued to bail him out even though it was clear he would never repay his debts.

That all said, the true poster boy for the Bank and Fund’s affection for dictators might be Ferdinand Marcos. In 1966, when Marcos came to power, the Philippines was the second-most prosperous country in Asia, and the country’s foreign debt stood at roughly $500 million. By the time Marcos was removed in 1986, the debt stood at $28.1 billion.

As Graham Hancock writes in “Lords Of Poverty,” most of these loans “had been contracted to pay for extravagant development schemes which, although irrelevant to the poor, had pandered to the enormous ego of the head of state… a painstaking two-year investigation established beyond serious dispute that he had personally expropriated and sent out of the Philippines more than $10 billion. Much of this money — which of course, should have been at the disposal of the Philippine state and people — had disappeared forever in Swiss bank accounts.”

“$100 million,” Hancock writes, “was paid for the art collection for Imelda Marcos… her tastes were eclectic and included six Old Masters purchased from the Knodeler Gallery in New York for $5 million, a Francis Bacon canvas supplied by the Marlborough Gallery in London, and a Michelangelo, ‘Madonna and Child’ bought from Mario Bellini in Florence for $3.5 million.”

“During the last decade of the Marcos regime,” he says, “while valuable art treasuries were being hung on penthouse walls in Manhattan and Paris, the Philippines had lower nutritional standards than any other nation in Asia with the exception of war-torn Cambodia.”

To contain popular unrest, Hancock writes that Marcos banned strikes and “union organizing was outlawed in all key industries and in agriculture. Thousands of Filipinos were imprisoned for opposing the dictatorship and many were tortured and killed. Meanwhile the country remained consistently listed among the top recipients of both US and World Bank development assistance.”

After the Filipino people pushed Marcos out, they still had to pay an annual sum of anywhere between 40% and 50% of the entire value of their exports “just to cover the interest on the foreign debts that Marcos incurred.”

One would think that after ousting Marcos, the Filipino people would not have to owe the debt he incurred on their behalf without consulting them. But that is not how it has worked in practice. In theory, this concept is called “odious debt” and was invented by the U.S. in 1898 when it repudiated Cuba’s debt after Spanish forces were ousted from the island.

American leaders determined that debts “incurred to subjugate a people or to colonize them” were not legitimate. But the Bank and Fund have never followed this precedent during their 75 years of operations. Ironically, the IMF has an article on its website suggesting that Somoza, Marcos, Apartheid South Africa, Haiti’s “Baby Doc” and Nigeria’s Sani Abacha all borrowed billions illegitimately, and that the debt should be written off for their victims, but this remains a suggestion unfollowed.

Technically and morally speaking, a large percentage of Third World debt should be considered “odious” and not owed anymore by the population should their dictator be forced out. After all, in most cases, the citizens paying back the loans didn’t elect their leader and didn’t choose to borrow the loans that they took out against their future.

In July 1987, the revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara gave a speech to the Organistion of African Unity (OAU) in Ethiopia, where he refused to pay the colonial debt of Burkina Faso, and encouraged other African nations to join him.

“We cannot pay,” he said, “because we are not responsible for this debt.”

Sankara famously boycotted the IMF and refused structural adjustment. Three months after his OAU speech, he was assassinated by Blaise Compaoré, who would install his own 27-year military regime that would receive four structural adjustment loans from the IMF and borrow dozens of times from the World Bank for various infrastructure and agriculture projects. Since Sankara’s death, few heads of state have been willing to take a stand to repudiate their debts.

urkinese dictator Blaise Compaoré and IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Compaoré seized power after assassinating Thomas Sankara (who tried to refuse Western debt) and he went on to borrow billions from the Bank and Fund.

One big exception was Iraq: after the U.S. invasion and ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003, American authorities managed to get some of the debt incurred by Hussein to be considered “odious” and forgiven. But this was a unique case: for the billions of people who suffered under colonialists or dictators, and have since been forced to pay their debts plus interest, they have not gotten this special treatment.

In recent years, the IMF has even acted as a counter-revolutionary force against democratic movements. In the 1990s, the Fund was widely criticized on the left and the right for helping to destabilize the former Soviet Union as it descended into economic chaos and congealed into Vladimir Putin’s dictatorship. In 2011, as the Arab Spring protests emerged across the Middle East, the Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition was formed and met in Paris.

Through this mechanism, the Bank and Fund led massive loan offers to Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and Jordan — “Arab countries in transition” — in exchange for structural adjustment. As a result, Tunisia’s foreign debt skyrocketed, triggering two new IMF loans, marking the first time that the country had borrowed from the Fund since 1988. The austerity measures paired with these loans forced the devaluation of the Tunisian dinar, which spiked prices. National protests broke out as the government continued to follow the Fund playbook with wage freezes, new taxes and “early retirement” in the public sector.

Twenty-nine-year-old protestor Warda Atig summed up the situation: “As long as Tunisia continues these deals with the IMF, we will continue our struggle,” she said. “We believe that the IMF and the interests of people are contradictory. An escape from submission to the IMF, which has brought Tunisia to its knees and strangled the economy, is a prerequisite to bring about any real change.”

VII. Creating Agricultural Dependence

“The idea that developing countries should feed themselves is an anachronism from a bygone era. They could better ensure their food security by relying on the U.S. agricultural products, which are available in most cases at lower cost.”

Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture John Block


As a result of Bank and Fund policy, all across Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and South and East Asia, countries which once grew their own food now import it from rich countries. Growing one’s own food is important, in retrospect, because in the post-1944 financial system, commodities are not priced with one’s local fiat currency: they are priced in the dollar.

Consider the price of wheat, which ranged between $200 and $300 between 1996 and 2006. It has since skyrocketed, peaking at nearly $1,100 in 2021. If your country grew its own wheat, it could weather the storm. If your country had to import wheat, your population risked starvation. This is one reason why countries like PakistanSri LankaEgyptGhana and Bangladesh are all currently turning to the IMF for emergency loans.

Historically, where the Bank did give loans, they were mostly for “modern,” large-scale, mono-crop agriculture and for resource extraction: not for the development of local industry, manufacturing or consumption farming. Borrowers were encouraged to focus on raw materials exports (oil, minerals, coffee, cocoa, palm oil, tea, rubber, cotton, etc.), and then pushed to import finished goods, foodstuffs and the ingredients for modern agriculture like fertilizer, pesticides, tractors and irrigation machinery. The result is that societies like Morocco end up importing wheat and soybean oil instead of thriving on native couscous and olive oil, “fixed” to become dependent. Earnings were typically used not to benefit farmers, but to service foreign debt, purchase weapons, import luxury goods, fill Swiss bank accounts and put down dissent.

Consider some of the world’s poorest countries. As of 2020, after 50 years of Bank and Fund policy, Niger’s exports were 75% uranium; Mali’s 72% gold; Zambia’s 70% copper; Burundi’s 69% coffee; Malawi’s 55% tobacco; Togo’s 50% cotton; and on it goes. At times in past decades, these single exports supported virtually all of these countries’ hard currency earnings. This is not a natural state of affairs. These items are not mined or produced for local consumption, but for French nuclear plants, Chinese electronics, German supermarkets, British cigarette makers, and American clothing companies. In other words, the energy of the labor force of these nations has been engineered toward feeding and powering other civilizations, instead of nourishing and advancing their own.

Researcher Alicia Koren wrote about the typical agricultural impact of Bank policy in Costa Rica, where the country’s “structural adjustment called for earning more hard currency to pay off foreign debt; forcing farmers who traditionally grew beans, rice, and corn for domestic consumption to plant non-traditional agricultural exports such as ornamental plants, flowers, melons, strawberries, and red peppers… industries that exported their products were eligible for tariff and tax exemptions not available to domestic producers.”

“Meanwhile,” Koren wrote, “structural adjustment agreements removed support for domestic production… while the North pressured Southern nations to eliminate subsidies and ‘barriers to trade,’ Northern governments pumped billions of dollars into their own agricultural sectors, making it impossible for basic grains growers in the South to compete with the North’s highly subsidized agricultural industry.”

Koren extrapolated her Costa Rica analysis to make a broader point: “Structural adjustment agreements shift public spending subsidies from basic supplies, consumed mainly by the poor and middle classes, to luxury export crops produced for affluent foreigners.” Third World countries were not seen as body politics but as companies that needed to increase revenues and decrease expenditures.

The testimony of a former Jamaican official is especially telling: “We told the World Bank team that farmers could hardly afford credit, and that higher rates would put them out of business. The Bank told us in response that this means ‘The market is telling you that agriculture is not the way to go for Jamaica’ — they are saying we should give up farming altogether.”

“The World Bank and IMF,” the official said, “don’t have to worry about the farmers and local companies going out of business, or starvation wages or the social upheaval that will result. They simply assume that it is our job to keep our national security forces strong enough to suppress any uprising.”

Developing governments are stuck: faced with insurmountable debt, the only factor they really control in terms of increasing revenue is deflating wages. If they do this, they must provide basic food subsidies, or else they will be overthrown. And so the debt grows.

Even when developing countries try to produce their own food, they are crowded out by a centrally-planned global trade market. For example, one would think that the cheap labor in a place like West Africa would make it a better exporter of peanuts than the United States. But since Northern countries pay an estimated $1 billion in subsidies to their agriculture industries every single day, Southern countries often struggle to be competitive. What’s worse, 50 or 60 countries are often directed to focus on the very same crops, crowding each other out in the global marketplace. Rubber, palm oil, coffee, tea and cotton are Bank favorites, as the poor masses can’t eat them.

It is true that the Green Revolution has created more food for the planet, especially in China and East Asia. But despite advances in agricultural technology, much of these new yields go to exports, and vast swathes of the world remain chronically malnourished and dependent. To this day, for example, African nations import about 85% of their food. They pay more than $40 billion per year — a number estimated to reach $110 billion per year by 2025 — to buy from other parts of the world what they could grow themselves. Bank and Fund policy helped transform a continent of incredible agricultural riches into one reliant on the outside world to feed its people.

Reflecting on the results of this policy of dependency, Hancock challenges the widespread belief that the people of the Third World are “fundamentally helpless.”

“Victims of nameless crises, disasters, and catastrophes,” he writes, suffer from a perception that “they can do nothing unless we, the rich and powerful, intervene to save them from themselves.” But as evidenced by the fact that our “assistance” has only made them more dependent on us, Hancock rightfully unmasks the notion that “only we can save them” as “patronizing and profoundly fallacious.”

Far from playing the role of good samaritan, the Fund does not even follow the timeless human tradition, established more than 4,000 years ago by Hammurabi in ancient Babylon, of forgiving interest after natural disasters. In 1985, a devastating earthquake hit Mexico City, killing more than 5,000 people and causing $5 billion of damage. Fund staff — who claim to be saviors, helping to end poverty and save countries in crisis — arrived a few days later, demanding to be repaid.

VIII. You Can’t Eat Cotton

“Development prefers crops that can’t be eaten so the loans can be collected.”,built%20it%20for.

FACT SHEET: U.S.- Africa Partnership in Promoting Two-Way Trade and Investment in Africa

Author:  US WHIA    Public: 12/12/2022         WHIA

                                              HOME      BRIEFING ROOM       STATEMENTS AND RELEASES

Africa’s integration into global markets, demographic boom, and continent-wide spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation present an extraordinary opportunity for the United States to invest in Africa’s future.  The United States will support and facilitate mobilizing private capital to fuel economic growth, job creation, and greater U.S. participation in Africa’s future.  Together, business and government leaders will strengthen trade- and investment-enabling environments, including fostering the development and implementation of effective policies and practices across all sectors, and identify and promote new opportunities for Africans and Americans.  Through initiatives such as the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) and Prosper Africa, the United States will provide timely, coordinated support that meets the needs of businesses and investors, including micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises and diaspora- and women-owned businesses, to advance infrastructure priorities and boost two-way trade and investment.

Since 2021, the U.S. Government has helped close more than 800 two-way trade and investment deals across 47 African countries for a total estimated value of over $18 billion, and the U.S. private sector has closed investment deals in Africa valued at $8.6 billion.  U.S. goods and services traded with Africa totaled $83.6 billion in 2021.  These investments and programs are in support of the umbrella initiatives PGII, Prosper Africa, and Power Africa.

At today’s U.S.-Africa Business Forum, President Biden announced over $15 billion in two-way trade and investment commitments, deals, and partnerships that advance key priorities, including sustainable energy, health systems, agribusiness, digital connectivity, infrastructure, and finance.  Since January 2021, the Biden-Harris Administration has invested and plans to invest more than $1 billion in trade, investment, and economic development in Africa.

Departments and Agencies across the U.S. Government announced new initiatives and investments to promote two-way trade and investment:

  • The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), on behalf of the United States Government, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat to support institutions to accelerate sustainable economic growth across the continent.  Once fully implemented, the Agreement Establishing the AfCFTA will create a combined continent-wide market of 1.3 billion people and $3.4 trillion, which would be the fifth-largest economy in the world.
  • The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and the Governments of Benin and Niger are signing the first regional compacts totaling $504 million, with additional contributions of $15 million from Benin and Niger, to support regional economic integration, trade, and cross-border collaboration.  Since the start of this Administration, MCC also signed agreements with the Governments of The Gambia, Lesotho and Malawi for an additional $675 million.  These agreements include over $150 million to support climate adaptation.  The agency is currently working in 14 African countries with more than $3 billion in active compact and threshold programs and approximately $2.5 billion in the pipeline.  Yesterday, MCC announced that The Gambia and Togo are eligible to develop their first compacts, Senegal is eligible to develop a concurrent regional compact, and Mauritania is eligible for a threshold program.
  • President Biden launched the Digital Transformation with Africa (DTA), a new initiative to expand digital access and literacy across the continent.  Working with Congress, this new initiative intends to invest over $350 million and mobilize over $450 million in financing commitments for Africa, in line with the African Union’s Digital Transformation Strategy.
  • U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) announced $369 million in new investments across Africa across food security, renewable energy infrastructure, and health projects, including a $100 million transaction with Mirova SunFunder for the Mirova Gigaton Fund to support clean energy across the continent.
  • The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) currently has over $7 billion in exposure throughout Africa, including new authorizations such as $42 million in financing to the Republic of Angola for the purchase of GatesAir FM transmitters and $7.4 million in financing to Sapele Power Plc (Sapele) in Nigeria for the purchase of American-manufactured energy storage systems from ESS Tech, Inc (ESS).  At the Forum, EXIM signed several new Memorandums of Understanding (MoU), including: $500 million MoU with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) to support diaspora engagement and strengthen EXIM’s commercial ties to the continent by increasing access to and awareness of EXIM financial products; a $300 million MoU with Africa 50 to facilitate up to $300 million in EXIM financing for the export of U.S. goods and services to buyers throughout Africa, particularly in support of infrastructure, transportation, digital technology and renewable energy projects; and a $500 million MoU with the Africa Finance Corporation to facilitate U.S. goods and services exports, promote U.S.-Africa trade, and support financing of trade-enabling projects.
  • Power Africa, which has helped close 145 power generation investments valued at more than $24 billion, in collaboration with Prosper Africa, announced the launch of the Clean Tech Energy Network (CTEN).  CTEN is a collaboration between the U.S. Government, U.S. clean tech energy companies, and African energy stakeholders that is expected to mobilize $350 million in deals.  In addition, Power Africa operationalized a $150 million public-private partnership to electrify 10,000 health facilities in sub-Saharan Africa, bolstering sector resources to advance pandemic resilience and digital connectivity and decarbonize the health sector footprint.
  • U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) announced over 15 new activities that are designed to help unlock close to $1 billion in financing for Africa’s clean energy, digital, and healthcare infrastructure priorities and create more than $500 million in export opportunities for U.S. firms.  These new commitments build upon USTDA’s 30-year history of partnering with Africa’s public and private sectors and financiers to shape infrastructure development across the continent.  In 2022 alone, USTDA’s program helped unlock more than $500 million in financing for 10 priority infrastructure projects across the continent.
  • Prosper Africa, working with Congress, has invested and plans to provide at least $170 million to increase two-way trade and investment between the United States and African countries.  Through catalytic investments and partnerships, Prosper Africa expects to boost African exports to the United States by $1 billion and mobilize an additional $1 billion in U.S. investment in Africa.  For example, Prosper Africa is launching five new partnerships with African investors that will leverage $200 million in private investment and generate millions of dollars in revenue for businesses, all while advancing African solutions to global challenges like climate change, food insecurity, and women’s empowerment.  Prosper Africa is also establishing a new Prosper Africa Coordinator position, which will streamline efforts across the U.S. Government and private sector to advance the Administration’s economic engagement with Africa.
  • The Department of Commerce has supported over 330 transactions and commercial cases between the United States and Africa under the Biden-Harris Administration, with a total value of over $11.9 billion.
  • The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced a range of commitments and newly-leveraged private investments across sectors, including in health, food security, and climate, and that promote gender equality, women’s economic empowerment, and social inclusion.  This includes $100 million to accelerate last-mile delivery of agricultural innovations and a pledge to unlock $300 million in private financing by increasing investment in infrastructure and manufacturing, as well as digital solutions to drive an effective African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).  USAID also launched its Climate Action Infrastructure Facility that aims to leverage $100 million in private investment toward financing climate solutions.
  • U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) announced three Off-Grid Energy Challenges (healthcare, agriculture, and women in energy) through which the agency will provide grants to African enterprises to promote market-based solutions that connect businesses to electricity and impact marginalized communities.  USADF since 2021 has invested a total of $48.26 million of grant capital in African enterprises and leveraged $3 million from the private sector.  Working with Congress, in 2023, USADF plans to implement new projects that will invest $56.84 million, of which $18 million is expected to be leveraged from the private sector and other donors.
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) supported agricultural exports of approximately $264 million to Africa from July 2021 to August 2022 through the backing of the Export Credit Guarantee Program, including corn, soybeans, and wheat.  USDA will continue to encourage financing of commercial exports of U.S. agricultural products through the Export Credit Guarantee Program by reducing financial risk to lenders and facilitating trade.


U.S. Pledging $55 Billion to Africa

Author: Articistic rendering of the U.S. – Africa Leaders Summit      Published: 12/14/2022

FILE: Articistic rendering of the U.S. - Africa Leaders Summit

US to Commit $55 Billion to Africa

The United States will commit $55 billion to Africa over the next three years as President Joe Biden prepares to host the U.S.-Africa summit this week and discuss 2023 elections and democracy in the continent with a small group of leaders.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the U.S. commitment to invest in the African continent compares favorably to other countries.

Biden will also appoint a special representative for implementing ideas discussed at the summit, and the U.S. State Department plans to appoint Ambassador Johnnie Carson for this role, Sullivan said. Over 300 U.S. and African companies will meet with heads of different delegations to discuss investments in critical sectors, he said.

Sullivan also added the United States will not be “imposing conditionality” at the Africa summit to support the Ukraine war.

Part of Biden’s diplomatic efforts so far have focused on promoting Western democracies as a counterweight to China, but U.S. officials have insisted the Africa summit was not all about discussing Beijing’s influence in Africa.

Sullivan also said Biden will host a dinner on Wednesday night for about 50 African leaders and announce U.S. support for the African Union to join the Group of 20 (G20) major economies.

Biden will also push for a permanent member from the African continent on the United Nations Security Council.

Separately, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said her agency is preparing to sign a memorandum of understanding with African Continental Free Trade Area countries to explore work on the next phases of the U.S.-African trade relationshIP.