who will be next World Bank President What will they do


Merge Bank/IMF. Fritz Fischer writes to the FT to suggest another way of tackling the "outdated" tradition where the US picks the World Bank President, the Europeans pick the IMF boss, and the rest of the world gets left out: merge the two institutions.

"The World Bank Group - as its name indicates - is already a multifunctional organisation (the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Development Association, the International Finance Corporation and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency), and the IMF is just across the street and has the same membership," writes Fischer, a German Executive Director at the World Bank from 1991 to 1996.

"It thus appears that the time has come to "think the unthinkable" and combine the two while leaving their original mandates intact for the time being."

Fischer writes in response to a Martin Wolf article (paid subs) from a few days back, where Wolf argues that the Bank, WTO and OECD "need to be headed by first-rate people, not by the mediocrities that governments too often prefer."

According to Wolf, the Bank needs a leader who is (i) morally and intellectually engaged; (ii) able to set priorities in the face of pressure from donors, borrowers and "the demanding, and often destructive, activist community"; (iii) prepared to ruthlessly focus on generating economic growth and improved welfare in the world's poorest countries.

David Steven ~ January 31, 2005

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