Today in my Global Economic Relations class we wrapped up our simulation of the negotiations between the country and the IMF following their recent balance of payments crisis. My class group represented international NGOs while the other class groups were the IMF, the government of Mozambique, and domestic NGOs.

The process ended in a deal for a 6 billion dollar loan over 10 years in 5 installments with 1.4 billion dollars set aside for pro-poor policies and 2 billion for anti-corruption measures.

The exercise was really eye-opening to the complexities of international financial markets and negotiations between huge institutions like the IMF and small struggling countries like Mozambique. As an International NGO in particular, the process was frustrating at times. We did not have a voice in negotiations directly even though we provided 50% of Mozambique’s annual budget. We could, instead, put pressure on the government in behind the scenes conversations and through protests/media campaigns. The situation highlighted the fragile balance between protecting national sovereignty and protecting oppressed peoples.

While our deal was relatively friendly to the poor- including provisions to increase literacy, decrease unemployment, and decrease government corruption- in real life it is unlikely such a pro-poor policy would be feasible. While I had never considered a career in the non-profit sector, this class has made me rethink that slightly. This simulation showed a lot of the frustrations inherent in such a career though, so I definitely have a lot of respect for people who do dedicate their lives to protecting oppressed people and improving the conditions of those in highly impoverished nations.

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