Ocampo at the CGD public debate

In his turn at the presentations organised at CGD, José Antonio Ocampo expressed his view on the Bank, being quite critical of the issues in which, according to him, the institution has not performed well, like country ownership and cooperation with other international organisations. He also expressed the need to change the culture of the Bank in order for it to become a clients-based organisation, and criticised the US for not increasing capital or allowing other countries to do so.

On country ownership he said: Continue reading

Red flags at Ngozi’s CGD speech

Ngozi gave a speech and took part in a question and answer session at CGD recently. She was her usual effusive and passionate self, although often a little vague when it came to policy positions. The mainstream press has picked up on her campaign motifs: she put a large emphasis on job creation (although her actual record on job creation is called into question here), and on the Bank delivering finance/results/technical assistance faster. The Washington Post covers some more things here, including her insistence that US capital contriutions will not be threatened by a non-US candidate.

On some issues she seemed to demand significant changes at the Bank. She said the Bank should look at the African Development Bank for lessons on selecting leaders, seemingly endorsing double-majority voting, and said there needs to be a serious conversation about increasing capital contributions and voting shares for MICs.

There were however some other interesting points I think should be brought to light. These seem to indicate that on many issues she is sticking to already well-developed Bank approaches, and reaffirm her status as the ‘establishment choice’. Reformers and revolutionaries beware. On other issues she raised various red flags for campaigners: Continue reading

European governments’ opinions – two out of three candidates impressive…

I’ve seen some of the EU governments’ confidential reports of the interviews EU governors had with the three Presidential candidates last week. Of course they all had differing views, but a fair summary would be:

Okonjo-Iweala: passionate performer, good knowledge of how the World Bank operates, but her pitch wasn’t so well set out or structured.

Ocampo: best prepared, clearest ideas about where he would take the Bank, most knowledgeable on economic issues. Quite academic in style.

Kim: Very committed, but limited knowledge outside health, and particularly not on finance and economics.

“Why Jim Yong Kim won’t change the World Bank”

Another thoughtful blog from Felix Salmon on why no one should expect Dr. Kim to change much in the World Bank.

“.. the World Bank won’t move far in that direction so long as its president is imposed by fiat of the US. In order to work effectively at the sub-national and international level, the World Bank needs to be a genuinely international organization, run by and for the whole world, rather than being viewed as a means for the US to project “soft power” in Africa and elsewhere. “

World Bank Board to hold a straw poll Friday

Reuters is reporting that the Board of Executive Directors will hold a “straw poll” this Friday, ahead of the formal vote on the 16th. The usually well informed, Lesley Wroughton, writes “The board meets on Friday to conduct a straw poll to see if one candidate emerges as a clear favourite. It is expected to announce its choice on April 16, in time for the IMF and World Bank meetings of global finance leaders in Washington the same week.”

Ocampo takes shots at the US and the staff of the World Bank

In today’s event at CGD, Jose Antonio Ocampo said “The current president was too shy in asking for a capital increase,”… “The United States “says it cannot get the money through Congress, but it does not want to lose shares in the (Bank’s) capital. So that means we’re stuck with a World Bank which is constrained by its major shareholder.” Adding “At one point, sooner rather than later, the Bank will have to negotiate a capital increase.”
He also went on to speak about what he will change Continue reading

With Ngozi appearances deceive

Patrick Bond’s three part essay on the race for the presidency for the World Bank, published below, contains a long section on Ngozi. It is in part three and is well worth a read, as it one of the few times we have seen the Nigerain finance ministers record called seriously into question. Ngozi has been the subject of countless fawning op-eds from the commentariat in Washington and Europe, with very little analysis of her tenure at the Bank or in the Nigerian government. It seems strange that an elected official, nominated for such an important position, should not receive more scrutiny. She has run a smooth PR campaign thus far, and it seems journalists have exercised their energy on Kim, with little critical fuel left in the tank for Ngozi. Continue reading

Promise-breaking at the World Bank, Part 3: Contenders

It is onto the terrain of unprecedented global financial malgovernance that Kim now strides. To be sure, on the way, he’s being tripped up a little by disgruntled neoliberals like Reuters columnist Felix Salmon, who concludes, correctly, “the US government in general, and the Geithner-Clinton axis in particular, doesn’t actually want any real change at the World Bank. Change can only come from a strong president who is strongly supported by Continue reading

Promise-breaking at the World Bank, Part 2: After

If you want a world without poverty or species-threatening climate change, then let’s fast-forward a bit, to the point World Bank President Jim Yong Kim breaks your heart by endorsing what remains the world’s worst financial coal-addiction (http://www.brettonwoodsproject.org/art.shtml?x=569967), which in turn is required to power the world’s most active financing of Resource-Curse economics in some of the world’s most despotic regimes (http://www.brettonwoodsproject.org/art-569560). Continue reading