The Human Rights Potential of Sovereign Wealth Funds
30 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2009 Last revised: 2 Jul 2013
Date Written: 2009
In April, 2008, World Bank president, Robert Zoellick, called for sovereign wealth funds to invest one percent of their capital in Africa. The result will be the International Finance Corporation's Sovereign Funds Initiative and is an attempt to nurture the potential of sovereign wealth funds to contribute to economic development and improved well-being in a number of countries in Africa and elsewhere. This article explores the actual potential of the Sovereign Funds Initiative to realize its desired goals. After exploring and demonstrating the disappointing effects of natural resource wealth, development aid and foreign direct investment on some developing countries, the article proposes that the "one percent" should be used to fund a venture capital and micro/mezo-finance initiative targeted directly to entrepreneurs in partner countries. The paper proposes a Multilateral Sovereign Investment Agency to oversee this endeavor.
Keywords: sovereign wealth funds, SWFs, human rights, development, Africa, venture capital, microfinance, International Finance Corporation, IFC, Sovereign Funds Initiative, corruption, rent-seeking, patronage
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