Since corruption and poor governance also pose a threat to developing countries trying to increase economic freedom, combating these scourges is a crucial part of the World Bank’s Africa strategy. Ezekwesili also suggested that unconditional aid exacerbates these problems, allowing for easier misuse of funds. She was quick to point out, however, the Western development model is not the only one. “It is not our role at the World Bank to tell sovereign governments what development models they should follow,” but “there are certain key fundamentals that we know” about the best allocation of resources for effective growth. Some of China’s methods have worked well, others have not. There is no one perfect model everyone should be following, she said.
Ezekwesili also spoke about the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), saying that it “has been a really important trade tool” that “the United States does not want to lose.” In fact, she went as far as to say it has been more valuable as a means of development than many of the programs meant to develop Africa. She also highlighted other gains African countries have made in moving in up indexes like the Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom, that signify growth. She ended on a note of caution, however. Speaking of current uncertainty in the global economy, she warned “there is a cost for every freedom that is exercised… that freedom, when misused, has huge costs that become a tax on the behalf of the region against the poor.” Thus, despite the gains that have been made in recent years, “progress that has been achieved will likely unravel if the consequences of poor exercise of freedom have not been very well taken into consideration as we deal with this next cycle of the crisis facing the world.”