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 for supporting the Washington Consensus and top-down solutions. Also, it was pointed out that the fact that she spent 20 years at the Bank might help her to better understand how the institution works, but it is most probably a limitation to bring new ideas or a change in mentality at the Bank.
Ocampo, on the contrary, is being mentioned as the best placed to achieve “a new governance of the international financial institutions” and praised for being part of the Latin Americans who challenged neoliberal policies in the region.
The CNN interviewed Ocampo yesterday, from where we can get a glimpse of what he intends to change at the Bank:
On the agenda:
I think the World Bank should, to start with, be more engaged with major economic issues. Particularly with diversification of the developing countries. Both low-income countries and middle-income countries, because there are different challenges at each stage of development. And this issue has been largely ignored by the World Bank for some time.
Some of the issues that were in the past but were somewhat ignored should be emphasised, particularly the issue of infrastructure. Which was, of course, the main priority of the World Bank from, say the 1950s to the 1970s. It was largely ignored during the period of structural reforms – and is back.
On his contenders:
I think from the perspective of experience and development, there is no doubt that the minister of finance of Nigeria and myself, we have a broader perspective on development issues. Economic, social and environmental.
On the selection process:
Whether the view that the World Bank president should be selected on the basis of merits, in what they can offer the World Bank, I think is what we have to see. I really hope that this is the standard by which the board will select the next president of the World Bank.