In the Wall Street Journal today, Drew Hinshaw and Sudeep Reddy, take a look at Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s record and her chances.
It seems to me that unless the developing countries, including the BRICS, close ranks behind one of their two candidates, Ngozi or Ocampo, they will all lose any legitimacy in calling for a merit based selection process with no regard to national origin. If this does not happen very soon, I don’t see a reason for any of the industrial nations to take them seriously enough to not vote with the US for Dr. Kim, or pay attention to any of their other demands for that matter.
I’m already hearing from sources who attended the three interviews over the last three days that Ngozi has come up as the top candidate, followed closely by Ocampo, with Dr. Kim a distant third. Three things have worked for Ngozi to push her over Ocampo, she knows the bank inside-out, has experience on both sides of the table – a client and world banker-, and that she is an African woman supported by the whole African Union. This, if selected, will make her not only the first non-American to head the bank, but also the first woman, and first African. In the words of the Economist, “May the best woman win”
Reuters is reporting that the Board of Executive Directors will hold a “straw poll” this Friday, ahead of the formal vote on the 16th. The usually well informed, Lesley Wroughton, writes “The board meets on Friday to conduct a straw poll to see if one candidate emerges as a clear favourite. It is expected to announce its choice on April 16, in time for the IMF and World Bank meetings of global finance leaders in Washington the same week.”
In an interesting article, Benn Steil, in the New York Times, traces the history of how a spy scandal led to the unwritten arrangement between the US and European powers to divide the leadership of the IMF and World Bank between them.
He concludes his historical account of how this came about saying “Instead of treating the World Bank presidency as a sacred American birthright, we should remember that it was never more than a consolation prize for an administration trying to dodge a spy scandal.”