who will be next World Bank President What will they do


Africa Commission urges selection reform. Tony Blair's Africa Commission has recommended reforms to the World Bank's governance and leadership selection. The Commission report states that "appointments of the heads of international institutions should be decided upon by open competition which looks for the best candidate rather than by traditions which limit these appointments by nationality."

I am not holding my breath for implementation of this point, however. The Africa Commission's composition of senior political figures from Europe, Africa and North America (including briefly rumoured World Bank presidential hopeful Nancy Kassebaum-Baker) would give the impression that this recommendation might carry weight. But the commissioners have been fiddling with their wording while the Bank is in danger of burning.

And Tony Blair's government signed up to an extremely similar policy statement in its Globalisation White Paper of 2000. This commented (p.100): "in all [international] institutions, the UK Government favours open and competitive processes for the selection of top management. This could include a definition of the competencies for the post, selection and search committees and a clear process for taking the final decision, in which competence would be put above considerations of nationality".

UK government action to date on this has unfortunately been very minimal.

The Africa Commission report also urges the Bank to focus more on Africa, and to reduce the number of conditions placed on poor countries. The Bretton Woods Project has produced further analysis of the report's findings on the World Bank and IMF, including innovative proposals for a new decision-making Council of political representatives of member countries.

Alex Wilks ~ March 12, 2005

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