Dr. Lant Pritchett, a tenured professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government offers his judgment on the nomination of Jim Yong Kim. The professor lays it down as follows:
- “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.”
- “There is no way you can say with a straight face that this man is more qualified to head the World Bank than Ngozi,”
- “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.”
- As for the difference between development and the charity work that Mr. Kim has done; “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.”
P.S. To be fair, I think Prof. Pritchett is using the word “embarrassment” to simply say that the U S choice does not really reflect an understanding of what the World Bank is and what it actually does, and far much less respect for the Institution than say Europe’s pick to head the IMF. I think no one can argue seriously that Mr. Kim can come even close to matching the prestige that Lagarde brings to the IMF’s global image. Ngozi, on the other hand, can certainly do that.