Good Reads

Few opinion pieces worth reading this Saturday morning.

“Ready. Steady. Ngo”

In a very pointed editorial, the Economist comes out in support of Ngozi without mincing words. In “Hats off to Ngozi:  A golden opportunity for the rest of the world to show Barack Obama the meaning of meritocracy”, the Economist puts its argument this way:

“For almost 70 years, the leadership of the IMF and World Bank has been subject to an indefensible carve-up. The head of the Continue reading

We beg to differ Mr. President

Two opinion pieces today, in the FT and Bloomberg, put forward the argument that Obama should have supported the nomination of Ngozi instead of proposing Jim Yong Kim.
In the FT’s “Obama made the wrong World Bank call”,  Edward Luce says ” if the World Bank board was required to find the best-qualified candidate for the job – Dr Kim would be unlikely to find himself on a shortlist of three. In contrast, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the only African in the running, would be among anyone’s top picks. But the process doesn’t work like that. In spite of Mr Obama’s internationalist aspirations, Continue reading

US World Bank nominee under fire over book

From Robin Harding of the FT 

Jim Yong Kim, the US nominee to head the World Bank, is coming under fire over a book he co-authored that criticises “neoliberalism” and “corporate-led economic growth”, arguing that in many cases they had made the middle classes and the poor in developing countries worse off.

Some economists are arguing thatDying for Growth, jointly edited by Dr Kim and published in 2000, puts too great a focus on health policy over broader economic growth.

“Dr Kim would be the first World Bank president ever who seems to be anti-growth,” said William Easterly, professor of economics at New York University. “Even the severest of World Bank critics like me think that economic growth is what we want.”

Continue to the full article 

Two questions on interviewing the candidates

I am wondering if visitors to this site have any thoughts on what the candidates should be asked during the interviews?  and how should the bank report on these interviews and how the candidates performed?

I, for one, would like to see these interviews made public via YouTube or something similar, in keeping with what the bank says its new transparency and openness policies, but I know I am dreaming here.

Its a question of what passport do you have

I think this year is quite a significant year for international diplomacy and global development. I say that If only because its the first time ever we have a woman, and an African, to ever be nominated to head any major international institution; the position of President of the World Bank Group.  True, the usual international hypocrisy will most likely not pick her for the position despite her impeccable credentials and because she does not have the “right passport” , never the less, I think its worth taking a closer look at this woman and her background:

A question of merit

The question that keeps on nagging at me since yesterday is:

Objectively speaking, If Obama did not pick Jim Yong Kim, would anyone in the World think he should be the President of the World Bank?

Sachs, Ocampo, Ngozi , and even Larry Summers, would have been, and in fact were recommended and proposed by many others, but Kim?  May be for the WHO or the Aids Fund, but I doubt for the World Bank ! What do you think?

“World Bank: global carve-up”

The opinion-editorials are starting to come in. Here is 1st one from the Guardian. It starts off with:

“Barack Obama made two statements that mattered at the White House on Friday. The first, identifying himself with the family of the shot black teenager Trayvon Martin, exemplified why this president is special. The other, nominating Jim Yong Kim to run the World Bank, showed him as a business-as-usual US leader.”