who will be next World Bank President What will they do


Outside the box. In an editorial, the Washington Post dismisses the claims of all leading candidates for presidency of the "powerful but fragile" World Bank - bar Colin Powell, who may not be willing to take the job on.

"If Mr. Powell is not interested, the Bush administration should think outside the box," it says, without giving us any help as to what "out of the box" might mean in this context.

The Post lays out three criteria for the job: "The next World Bank chief should ideally be an experienced manager familiar with the complex politics of public-sector organizations; management of private firms is an almost separate discipline.

"He or she must be a persuasive communicator -- the bank is surrounded by critics, and must constantly defend itself -- and must understand development."

Chao, Taylor and Tobias, it reckons, fail one or more of these tests.

The Post also gives a highly critical potted history of the presidential choices. In 1981, the US gave the job to A W Clausen, a commercial banker with no knowledge of development; in 1986, it picked Barber B Conable Jr, an ex-Congressman who was so uninterested in the World Bank that he had to check his own voting record to see whether he had opposed appropriating money for it. In 1991, the White House installed Lewis T Preston, another commercial banker with no aptitude for the job.

The FT, meanwhile, carries an editorial setting out a post-Wolfensohn agenda for the Bank.

David Steven ~ January 23, 2005

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