Friday, September 15, 2006
Why Does the World Bank Think Iraq Is Succeeding?
The Bank's methodology makes the point that countries are included on the list whose "per capita income [falls] within the threshold of International Development Association (IDA) eligibility."
Iraq has oil, so that's why it is off the list, right? But two other major oil producers are on the list--Sudan and Nigeria.
Sudan has a GDP estimate of $2,100; Iraq, which is not, has a GDP estimate of $3,400. Perhaps the Bank decided that this was sufficient to take Iraq out of the "low-income" category. But the CIA Factbook on Iraq notes: "Per capita output and living standards were still well below the pre-1991 level, but any estimates have a wide range of error. "
One assumes that World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz must be pleased that Iraq doesn't make the Bank's list; that under his watch Iraq is not classed as a "fragile" state.
It does seem a bit of sleight of hand with the statistics. Yes, Iraq has a great deal of oil revenue, but all the welfare inidices (unemployment, power, etc.) point to a country that is de facto a lower-income country than might be suggested by the stats on paper.
Here's what I wonder - why was Iran during the Khatami era ranked the same as Iraq under Hussein in political and civil liberty?