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Report April 18, 2024

Delivering results for the South: The Bretton Woods system we need

By Otaviano Canuto, Hafez Ghanem, Youssef El Jai, and Stéphane Le Bouder

In partnership with the Policy Center for the New South, the Africa Center is proud to present a joint report, “The Reform of the Global Financial Architecture: Toward a System that Delivers for the South,” by Otaviano Canuto, Hafez Ghanem, Youssef El Jai, and Stéphane Le Bouder.

This report issues specific and urgent calls for reform, including more representative global governance, increasing the World Bank’s operational and financial capacity, prioritizing programs that would integrate Africa into the global economy, connecting the continent’s critical infrastructure and trade routes, and increasing participation and collaboration with bilateral public and private lenders and investors, such as China, sovereign wealth funds, and multinationals.

2024 marks eighty years of the Bretton Woods system. It is crucial to implement extensive reforms and substantial policies to support African nations’ efforts and maximize their chances to unleash their immense economic potential.

These recommendations presented during the 2024 IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings reflect the urgency of both operational and more inclusive reforms for the African continent.

About the authors

Otaviano Canuto
Senior Fellow
Policy Center for the New South


Otaviano Canuto is a senior fellow at the Policy Center for the New South, principal at the Center for Macroeconomics and Development and a nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institute. Canuto is also a former vice president and executive director at the World Bank, executive director at the International Monetary Fund and vice president at the Inter-American Development Bank. He was also deputy minister for international affairs at Brazil’s Ministry of Finance, as well as professor of economics at University of São Paulo (USP) and University of Campinas (UNICAMP).

Hafez Ghanem
Senior Fellow
Policy Center for the New South


Hafez Ghanem holds a PhD in economics from the University of California, Davis and is a senior fellow at the Policy Center for the New South. Ghanem is a development expert with a large number of academic publications, and more than forty years’ experience in policy analysis, project formulation and supervision, and management of multinational institutions.  He has worked in more than forty countries in Africa, Europe and Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and South East Asia.

Youssef El Jai
Policy Center for the New South


Youssef El Jai works at the Policy Center for the New South as an economist. He joined the center in 2019 after earning a master’s degree in Analysis and Policy in Economics from the Paris School of Economics and the Magistère d’Economie from the Sorbonne.

Stéphane Le Bouder
Nonresident Senior Fellow
Africa Center


Stéphane Le Bouder is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center and the chief operating officer of MiDA Advisors, a global advisory firm specializing in facilitating institutional investments and trade in Africa and other emerging markets.

The Africa Center works to promote dynamic geopolitical partnerships with African states and to redirect US and European policy priorities toward strengthening security and bolstering economic growth and prosperity on the continent.

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