Okonjo-Iweala For World Bank Presidency

Nigeria’s finance minister, who also doubles as the coordinating minister of the economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been tipped for the World Bank presidency. She was nominated alongside former Colombian finance minister, Jose
Ocampo, as developing countries struggle to wrestle the post out of the United States of America’s stranglehold.

Although the US is expected to leverage on its majority and goodwill from European countries, it must present a viable candidate with credentials to rival Okonjo-Iweala’s and Ocampo’s, both of whom are economists and diplomats.

According to analysts, this is the first time America is having a strong contender, as the 187 member nations have shown resolve for merit in selecting the next president of the World Bank.

Nominations for the post currently occupied by America’s Robert Zoellck close on Friday, with America expected to make its nomination by then.

Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has been tipped as a leading contender for the post, following the emerging trend of women participation in international economics. Okonjo-Iweala is said to have received the blessings of President Goodluck Jonathan and other African leaders to vie for the top job at the Bretton Woods Institution.

The World Bank and the IMF presidencies have been held by America and Britain respectively since the inception of the institutions after the World War II.

It is yet to be seen whether the developing countries can build a coalition strong enough to unseat the duo.

  1. AWAP,INC. Reply

    Ms. Okonjo-Iweala is ably qualified and competent to handle the World Bank position. Indeed, her appoinment would be a first for most of the developing countries/ block and for womens’s empowerment, particularly, African women.

    Hopefully, by that time, she would have really helped to set Naija’s economy in order, and on track to becoming a formidable force in technological and economic advancement. However, will the various legislooters and leaches in the Naija schema of things allow that to ever happen?

  2. Achref Reply

    Pritchett, who teaches csorues in the practice of international development, “It’s an embarrassment to the U.S. You cannot with a straight face say this person is the most qualified to lead the World Bank.”An infectious disease specialist, Kim helped found a Boston-based nonprofit called Partners in Health that trains community health workers in developing countries to make home visits to treat diseases like TB. Kim also directed the World Health Organization’s department of H.I.V./AIDS. But unlike past World Bank presidents, he has no experience in banking, policy making, economics or development. Kim has been president of Dartmouth for the last three years. Kim was also awarded a MacArthur “genius” fellowship in 2003, and was born in Seoul, South Korea, moving to the U.S. with his family at age 5. Forbes ran a recent profile of him here.In the World Bank’s 68-year history, the U.S. has always nominated the president, who must be voted on by the Bank’s 25-member executive board. This year, Angola, South Africa and Nigeria nominated a competing candidate, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Nigerian finance minister and a former World Bank official. Pritchett insists she is much more qualified than Kim. He points out that the U.S. has less than a 20% share of board votes and though he gives Kim a 60% chance of being appointed, he says that countries like India and China could wind up opposing Kim’s nomination and pressing for Okonjo-Iweala.“There is no way you can say with a straight face that this man is more qualified to head the World Bank than Ngozi,” insists Pritchett. Okonjo-Iweala has tackled corruption in Nigeria and because she has worked inside the Bank and as the Bank’s government counterpart in a developing country with complex problems, Pritchett insists she has precisely the kind of experience needed in a World Bank leader.“At best, Kim has worked with ministers of health, but they are in one of many, many government agencies,” says Pritchett. “A minister of finance has to make hard choices across sectors. Having the experience of a minister of finance is the optimal experience for being president of the World Bank.” Adds Pritchett, nominating Kim “is like picking the short stop for the New York Yankees out of the scrub leagues.”Pritchett points out that the World Bank, whose mission is to reduce global poverty by providing financial resources and sharing expertise with developing nations, works with fragile governments like Pakistan and Afghanistan on complex development issues, from raising tax revenues to elevating GDP to reforming education.For Pritchett, there is an important distinction between the kind of work Kim has done, which he calls “charity work,” and the complex tasks engaged in by the World Bank. “Development is about countries becoming prosperous, democratic and capable, like being able to deliver the mail, having police forces that work and kids who get educated,” says Pritchett. “Charity work is helping people cope with the fact that they live in places where they don’t have those things.”Pritchett, who supported Obama’s presidential bid, says that the President overlooked much more qualified candidates like PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi and Lawrence Summers, the former Treasury secretary who is a colleague and friend of Pritchett’s at Harvard. “The Obama administration had some concerns about the political left flank on this and did the craven thing,” says Pritchett.

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