who will be next World Bank President What will they do


The case for the defence. A "sexist" World Bank. Former US World Bank Executive Director Robert Holland has written a scathing critique of the Bank in his defence of Paul Wolfowitz in today's Wall Street Journal.

Not only does Holland believe that Wolfowitz "acted in good faith" throughout the re-assignment of Riza, but he alleges that "several members of senior management" pressured her to leave the Bank while Wolfowitz's nomination was pending. Why? Holland suggests that it is because Riza is an advocate of women's rights, and "the pressure to which she was subjected was typical of a culture that many female employees frequently complain is oppressively sexist."

But that's just where the excoriation of the Bank starts... His main argument is that Wolfowitz critics are opposed on the basis that his anti-corruption work will result in lower lending levels at a time of increasing competition for the Bank from the private sector, other multilateral banks and sovereign lenders such as China. Lower lending would mean less interest income with which the Bank pays its administrative expenses. Holland accuses the staff association and legal department of creating a "system of such Dickensian complexity" that no one - even the most incompetent - can be fired.

Next in Holland's line of fire is the board. He suggests that the board's
ineffectiveness is due to: its unwieldy size; the frequency of its turnover; the "imperatives of gaining loan approvals for borrowing country directors"; the high compensation enjoyed by board members; and "parochial foreign-policy interests, including those of the US".

Jeff Powell ~ April 20, 2007

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