Good Reads

Few opinion pieces worth reading this Saturday morning.

Ocampo hits back

Ocampo has finally flexed his muscles in the WB President race, arguing in a FT interview that Jim Yong Kim “lacks expertise”. Ocampo says:

“I think in terms of development expertise it is quite clear to everyone that the finance minister of Nigeria and myself stand above the US candidate, who has very narrow expertise in development. He is an excellent physician, nobody denies that, but we’re talking about a development institution.” Continue reading

“Ready. Steady. Ngo”

In a very pointed editorial, the Economist comes out in support of Ngozi without mincing words. In “Hats off to Ngozi:  A golden opportunity for the rest of the world to show Barack Obama the meaning of meritocracy”, the Economist puts its argument this way:

“For almost 70 years, the leadership of the IMF and World Bank has been subject to an indefensible carve-up. The head of the Continue reading

Kim calls for “an open, inclusive World Bank”

As US nominee Jim Yong Kim sets off on a global “listening tour” to promote his candidacy, he has declared his priorities for the Bank in an FT op-Ed. While thin on actual policy content, Kim gives strong support for “an open, inclusive World Bank” which “must give developing nations a greater voice.” He also attempts to calm the ‘anti-growth’ storm, by confirming that he recognises “that economic growth is vital to generate resources for investment in health, education and public goods.” Continue reading

Ocampo: “the World Bank president should be selected on the basis of merits”

While receiving less media attention, José Antonio Ocampo appears to be an interesting candidate for those who seek for a developing country candidate capable (and willing) to take forward the Post-Washington Consensus agenda.

Ngozi Okonjo Iewala, the Financial Times candidate, has been criticized Continue reading

Support for Ocampo from ECLAC’s Executive Secretary

Alicia Barcena, Executive Secretary  of United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), organisation that Ocampo lead during 1998-2003, wrote a Spanish article  arguing why José Antonio Ocampo is the best candidate for the Bank’s presidency. Here are some of the main arguments:

José Antonio Ocampo has an “outstanding career in academia, in the advancement of development theories, direct management of public policy and intellectual leadership to display original paths to progress.”

“He has examined in depth Continue reading

Interview dates leaked – decision due 11 April

The interview and decision dates at the board are now set. The World Bank board conducts the interviews. They are as follows:

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala – 9 April
Jose Antonio Ocampo –  10 April
Jim Yong Kim – 11 April

Apparently the board will discuss and vote on the decision straight away after the interview with Kim on the 11th and a decision is expected to be announced that day.

Amended on 30/3 with updated dates.

FT praises Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

The FT published an editorial on Tuesday arguing that Nigeria’s minister of the economy and finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, should get the World Bank presidency job. While recognising that the US candidate Jim Yong Kim “could be a good choice” because of his background in health and his managerial experience at the World Health Organisation, the FT states that “the Bank needs more than this”:

“Its new leader should have a command of macroeconomics, the respect of leaders of both the funding and the funded countries, and the management skills to implement his or her vision. These requirements make Ms Okonjo-Iweala the best person for the role.”

Continue reading

We must examine candidates’ track record on rejecting the Washington Consensus

Below is a guest post from Vitalice Meja, Coordinator of Reality of Aid Africa Network.

The current debate on the next president to the World Bank is as interesting as it is puzzling. While for the first time there seems an opportunity for a candidate from a developing country to take over, the debate seems to focus around supporting individuals rather than their credentials on development agenda and transformation.

World Bank is a global institution and leading it requires a President who has an acumen to address the challenges that affect the world in a very pragmatic and dynamic manner. Such a candidate should not be limited by the failed ideological formations that have underpinned the institution of the World Bank.

For those in the developing world especially Africa, certain elements are paramount in deciding the right president for the bank. These include the following Continue reading

We beg to differ Mr. President

Two opinion pieces today, in the FT and Bloomberg, put forward the argument that Obama should have supported the nomination of Ngozi instead of proposing Jim Yong Kim.
In the FT’s “Obama made the wrong World Bank call”,  Edward Luce says ” if the World Bank board was required to find the best-qualified candidate for the job – Dr Kim would be unlikely to find himself on a shortlist of three. In contrast, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the only African in the running, would be among anyone’s top picks. But the process doesn’t work like that. In spite of Mr Obama’s internationalist aspirations, Continue reading