who will be next World Bank President What will they do


Funding for the Bank: rumours fly. The LA Times has a piece which claims that European governments are making tough threats. It mentions "a leaked report that European governments had decided to cut off contributions to the bank's loan funds if Wolfowitz did not resign".

This is certainly intriguing. A number of Europeans were already likely to be much harder than usual on the Bank's replenishment discussions, which started in Paris on 7 March. After this damaging scandal you can imagine it would be that much harder for European ministers to justify putting ever more taxpayers' aid money through the Bank.

Meanwhile a friend in Washington has picked up a counter-rumour. That the US government is threatening to withhold its funding for the Bank during the replenishment if the Europeans don't calm down about Wolfowitz. When he came in as Bank president Wolfowitz pledged to help cajole Congress and the Administration to provide more money for the Bank. He'll undoubtedly be trying to restate that case now.

In the LA Times piece a former Treasury Department official said "I believe we could block an effort to remove Wolfowitz. That said, if there were an overwhelming mood against him, he would cease trying to stay".

The mood is hard to judge right now, especially with rumours of deals being cut behind the scenes. Tomorrow is a big day though, with the Development Committee and press conference.

Alex Wilks ~ April 14, 2007

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