who will be next World Bank President What will they do


Beyond Wolfowitz: Governance and the World Bank OK, so after reading this David Brooks op-ed in the NYT, I've come to the conclusion that even Wolfowitz's supporters see his departure as a "when" and not an "if" question. Well, what's to stop W. from putting Rummy in his place?

Answer: nothing. As of right now, that is.

If we're serious about WB governance "reform" (and I may not be, as I believe it's an irreparable institution) some principles should be firmly in place before Wolfowitz's successor is named.

1) Transparency: How about C-SPAN at World Bank board meetings? If we had transparency, we would have known about the Riza affair years ago. We'd also know a lot more about particular government agendas on the Bank's board and who knows what else. "Transparency is an antidote to corruption," to quote one Bank governance specialist. Great, how about a dose of your own medicine?

2) Accountability: Wolfowitz is not the only staff person to violate staff policies and not all policies are good ones. Evidence is mounting that the Structural Adjustment policies of privatization, liberalization and budget austerity [10 page pdf file. pages 3-7] have been complete disasters, leading to chronic under-development and untold unnecessary suffering and hardship. The World Bank and the IMF must be held accountable for the big scandals as well as the small ones. Questions of institutional accountability and not just personal accountability are important.

3) Democracy: No institution can represent the under-privileged of the world when it explicitly dances to the tune of the most privileged. That's a lesson we should have learned from the Berlin conference of 1884. It's time to get rid of the voting share system altogether and think about mechanisms whereby the grassroots pull the strings. One model of this may be that of the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria, where grants are always applied for from affected communities through national governments.

If this proposal were to be implemented, my guess is that the institution would shrink to about 5-20% its current size. That alone would be a good legacy for Wolfowitz, I think.

Sameer Dossani ~ May 03, 2007


Okay... better that than Rumsfeld!

From the UN end of things, I've worked a lot with the Bank and there are myriad thoughtful people there.

But it seems to have evolved through the mother of all mission-creeps and wrecked havoc with the rest of the UN development operation.

I would like to see the rethink start at the UN development end of things, and then residually define what role a bank network can play in their support.

Peter Quennell ~ May 03, 2007, 05:22 PM

the author is correct. The institution is structurally corrupt, self serving and irreparable. Shrinking it to 20% of its current size is a first step. The aim must be to close it down within the next 5 years. I have worked there several years, long enough to testify to that.

world bank staff ~ May 04, 2007, 12:01 AM

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