who will be next World Bank President What will they do


Full text of Wolfowitz statement to Bank. We have just obtained, and posted, Paul Wolfowitz’s statement of candidacy to the Bank board (word doc). The statement is long on rhetoric and very short on substance. Some elements are interesting, however, and are commented on below.

Warm words
Wolfowitz’s statement is full of positive, but general, comments such as “helping people out of poverty is both a noble mission and a matter of enlightened self-interest”. In fact in the 650 word speech the word "noble" appears three times.

Wolfensohn’s legacy
He commented that Wolfensohn: “has deepened the Bank’s commitment to poverty reduction, emphasizing key factors such as education, health-particularly HIV/AIDS, women, youth and the environment.” He continues: “Jim Wolfensohn has also brought an important focus on issues of transparency, accountability and governance”. Given the murky circumstances of his own nomination for the Bank position that is ironic indeed.

Overtures to Bank staff.
Wolfowitz comments that he looks forward to working with “the extraordinary group of professionals who work at the World Bank” and that he plans to listen to “rely on a lot of listening to those who have served the poor”. Meanwhile we have heard that many World Bank staffmembers are horrified at their likely next president.

Indonesian development
He says: “I then spent three years in Indonesia where economic development was the most important issue on the agenda. I saw first-hand what the World Bank could accomplish, working in support of dedicated development professionals in the Indonesian government and from many donor countries.”

This bland statement may anger those who are still angry about the dictatorial Suharto regime in power at the time in Indonesia. And those who remember the official report (the Loos report) which concluded that almost one third of World Bank loans to Indonesia under Suharto may have gone astray as corruption.

Full text of Paul Wolfowitz’s statement.

Alex Wilks ~ March 17, 2005

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