A full 12 years passed between the formation of the much-vaunted Bretton Woods institutions in 1944 and the creation of the first postcolonial African state. During that period the International Monetary Fund (IMF) helped establish the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, while the World Bank facilitated the reconstruction of Europe via the Marshall Plan. These newly formed institutions, whose role was to protect and grow the global financial system, seemingly saw no inherent contradiction between the economic drain of colonialism and accomplishing their mandates.

This observation leads to an uncomfortable question: just how important, if at all, is the success of the African economies to the Bretton Woods institutions? After all, the continent makes up just 3% of global GDP. Maintaining the stability of the global financial system doesn’t require the stability and development of Africa’s economies. For these ideals to be achieved, perhaps the creation of an Addis Ababa ins...

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