who will be next World Bank President What will they do


Wolfowitz: bluff or believable? I asked a range of well-placed people yesterday what they thought of the Wolfowitz rumour. Views were mixed with at least some considering the Defense Department response to be football manager pyschology ("David Beckham is very happy at Manchester United").

People I spoke to included Wolfensohn and other senior figures from the Bank as well as African and rich country senior officials. They were all present at the (unproductive) Aid Effectiveness ministerial conference.

Many of the above said they feel very out of the loop of this decision-making and are frequently checking this site to keep in touch. To a man and woman they were all happy to talk but reluctant to be quoted.

Most people thought Wolfowitz would be a poor choice as his association with the US Iraq invasion would make it more impossible than ever for the Bank to appear neutral and multilateral.

One Bank official told me "I really hope not. The only good thing is it would make it an easy change for those of us who call the top boss 'Wolfman'. But I think a number of people would leave the Bank if Wolfowitz came in". This official - who has served in the Bank for many years - said he was not happy with any of the names on the current list.

A French official told me that they "would not like Wolfowitz at all" and that efforts to block him were very likely.

But could the White House have leaked Wolfowitz's name as a decoy? Encouraging debate about him may distract attention from other candidates and make them seem more reasonable. This is the plausible theory of Brian on our web forum.

Alex Wilks ~ March 03, 2005

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