who will be next World Bank President What will they do


Manuel the coming man? I have been told by sources in and near the Bank that Trevor Manuel is a key figure people are considering as a way of opening up the Bank president selection.

Some people have appealed to Manuel to put his name forward for the position. Others are hoping the Europeans will do so. They feel that a nomination of the South African finance minister (who currently chairs the Development Committee, the ministerial body which oversees the Bank’s activities) would have to be taken seriously and would raise the bar for other candidates, whether from the USA or from other developing countries.

Manuel has certainly made some interesting noises about the problems with how the World Bank and IMF are run. Last year he gave a lecture (PDF) at Oxford University where he stated that “multilateral institutions are experiencing a degradation of their legitimacy because of their governance structures”.

He continued: “If the World Bank, IMF and World Trade Organisation do not represent the voices of the poor and marginalised, they are unlikely to correctly analyse the policy choices that can be used to address the concerns of the poor and marginalised”.

However over the last eighteen months Manuel has been in charge of proposing reforms to the outdated, inequitable and non-transparent governance system of the World Bank and IMF and has failed to negotiate any tangible reforms to the governance structures of the institutions.

His record as finance minister in his own country has also been controversial – with a number of civil society groups accusing him of introducing home-grown structural adjustment.

There has been no word from Trevor Manuel on the possible job change. This week he hosted Gordon Brown for the Africa Commission meeting in Cape Town. It is highly likely that they took a minute to discuss where long-standing finance ministers with an interest in international issues can go next and whether one of them should leave domestic politics in favour of the Bank position.

Stay tuned.

Alex Wilks ~ January 20, 2005

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