Current Magazine

World Bank: Kim, Ocampo and Okonjo-Iweala in Running for Presidency in Institution’s First Merit-based Contest

Posted on the 12 April 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost
World Bank: Kim, Ocampo and Okonjo-Iweala in running for presidency in institution’s first merit-based contest

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Photo credit: World Bank Photo Collection

The race to be the next president of the World Bank is revving up. Three candidates – Nigeria’s Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Jose Antonio Ocampo, a former finance minister of Colombia, and Dr Jim Yong Kim, a public health expert and president of Dartmouth College in the US – have emerged from the pack of contenders to succeed outgoing president Robert Zoellick, who is due to check out by 20 April 2012. The ongoing race is being closely watched because it represents the first proper merit-based contest for the top job since the Bank was created after World War II. In the past, as per an unwritten convention, the US — the largest single majority shareholder of the bank — got to select the president of the Bank which is, at its core, a development institution.

US President Barack Obama has backed Korean-American medical doctor and anthropologist Dr Kim, noted the BBC. But the rest of the world aren’t all convinced of Kim’s credentials for the post. The fact Kim is not a trained economist – unlike the other two candidates – has concerned some. In an open letter, 35 former economists and managers said the Bank should choose the next chief on merit. Another group of economists this week signed a petition backing Ocampo.

Brics countries flexing muscles. “The three-way fight is attracting increasingly passionate comment from candidates’ supporters,” reported the BBC, which noted “it has also shone a light on the way the World Bank chooses its head.” The US, Europe and Japan have 54% of the votes and under an informal arrangement the US chooses the World Bank president on the understanding that Europe appoints a European as head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Bank’s sister institution. However, the BBC reported that emerging economies “have become increasingly unhappy with this system” and are pushing for change: “The leaders of Russia, Brazil, China, India and South Africa recently called for a review of that weighted voting system. The nations, sometimes referred to as the Brics countries, are working to chose a joint candidate, according to the Brazilian finance minister Guido Mantega.” 

US must embrace increased World Bank transparency. Writing at The New York Times, Thomas J. Bollyky, senior fellow for global health, economics and development at the Council on Foreign Relations, argued that “the controversy around Dr. Kim’s nomination is understandable … For decades, America has effectively had unilateral control over who gets to lead the World Bank. Mr. Obama’s unconventional pick of Dr. Kim, a physician and anthropologist, has opened the door to developing countries to put forward their own candidates whose economic and banking qualifications more closely resemble those of past leaders of the bank.” Bollyky backed Kim as the “right” and “inspired” choice yet insisted that the Bank “will suffer unless the United States takes the high ground and uses this controversy to reform how the institution is governed. Only by embracing a competitive election process can the United States ensure that Dr. Kim will have the mandate to revitalize an institution long resistant to change.”

“President Obama has made an inspired nomination of an unconventional candidate to lead the World Bank back into relevance. The United States must now vindicate that choice by embracing a competitive election process that would give Dr. Kim the mandate he needs to advance the interests of the world’s poor, as well as America’s interests,” insisted Thomas J. Bollyky at The New York Times.

Welcome competition. Writing at The Baltimore Sun, M.G. Quibria, a professor of development economics at Morgan State University, concurred that “change” is what the World Bank “needs” and welcoming the merit-based race: Overall, this increased competition has augured well for the bank, as it has attracted a field of strong candidates.” Quibria pointed out “flaws” in each candidate but concluded that “the flaws of these candidates aside, what represents an unambiguous advance over the past is the current selection process, which is more open and transparent — an important reform for so critical a global institution.” 

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala stakes her claim. Writing in The Financial Times, Okonjo-Iweala set out her “vision” for the World Bank. She argued that, “emerging countries, once dependent on the World Bank, have become world powers. Growth across Asia, Africa and Latin America is transforming the global economy. The World Bank must adapt to such tectonic shifts … ” Claiming to “represent the aspirations of many people from the developing world,” Okonjo-Iweala said that the Bank must respond quickly and effectively to three key challenges facing its client countries in “ways that respect their priorities, their culture and their own processes.” “These three major challenges – creating jobs, investing in the human capital of the poor and building institutions – have to be pursued with vigour,” insisted Okonjo-Iweala, who concluded, “the work of the World Bank affects the welfare of millions of citizens and the prospects for a more peaceful world. I would be most honoured to lead this important institution with a sense of humility, urgency and hope at this time of change and challenge.


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Shilo Sanders- Son Of Deion Sanders Thanks Courts For Allowing Him To Live With...

    Shilo Sanders- Deion Sanders Thanks Courts Allowing Live With Pilar

    ChristianNews Shilo Sanders, the son of NFL Hall of Famer,  Deion Sanders took to twitter to “thank” the courts for allowing him to live with his mother, Pilar... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Firstladyb
    SPIRITUALITY
  • “I Feel Great”

    Feel Great”

    Jakub went to his doctor's office believing that he had a back injury, but returned with a chocking diagnosis instead. He had type 2 diabetes - in spite of... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT
  • July Allotment Recap (2/2)

    July Allotment Recap (2/2)

    Sunday afternoon saw us return bravely to 24a even though there were more thundery showers foretold by the weatherman. I will admit that I guffawed at the... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Chrryblossomtat2
    GARDENING, HOME
  • Culinary Delicacies in Croatia- What to Eat and Drink in Croatia

    Culinary Delicacies Croatia- What Drink Croatia

    In my earlier post, we spoke about how Croatia is a stunning European destination, let us now see what are the culinary delicacies in Croatia or what you can... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Kash Pals
    FOOD & DRINK, A-CLASSER
  • #Golf Training Aids Spotlight: The Delta Putt

    #Golf Training Aids Spotlight: Delta Putt

    Do you consider yourself to be a strong putter or do you feel you could improve your make percentage on the green? Most amateurs could use help with the flat... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Golfforbeginners
    GOLF, SPORTS
  • Three Incredible Hikes in Southern Iceland3 Min Read

    Three Incredible Hikes Southern Iceland3 Read

    Nature takes center stage in Iceland, where there's a stunning view around every bend: massive glaciers, expansive lava fields, powerful waterfalls, black sand... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Healthytravelblog
    TRAVEL
  • What I Wore: Daytime Pajamas

    What Wore: Daytime Pajamas

    Pajama top: ELOQUII (14) | Pajama pants: ELOQUII (14) | Shoes: ASOS (similar) | Earrings: J. Crew ( same in different colors, similar concept in same color) |... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Wardrobeoxygen
    FASHION, SELF EXPRESSION, SHOPPING

Paperblog Hot Topics