Paul Wolfowitz has given an exclusive interview to the BBC World Service to try to explain why he is leaving the World Bank. He says the media and an overheated atmosphere were to blame, and uses his airtime to justify his record at the Bank in general and on the Riza affair. He refuses to be drawn on how his successor should be chosen but agrees that African countries are “under-represented” at the Bank. Continue reading
If you like on-line consultations, here’s another one. With admirable dry humour the World Bank’s civil society team this week issued the following announcement, making no mention of the governance melt-down at the top of their institution.
“Please note that the deadline to provide web feedback to seek further comments to help inform the development of the governance and anti-corruption implementation plan has been extended to Wednesday, May 30″. Continue reading
According to a tip-off I just received from someone who needs to remain discreet, a new candidate in the running is Vasken Setrakian. Mr Setrakian is a former classmate of President Bush from Harvard, where they both did their MBA. He is also an ex-managing director at Brown Brothers Harriman and currently runs his own Investment firm in New York.
Seems like the Harvard Crimson, a university daily that is gloating today about how many World Bank prez candidates are alumni, will have to do an update.
French colleague Jean Merckaert, who works at CCFD writes from Paris this morning with another intriguing suggestion: “Jacques Chirac left the Elysée Palace one week ago. In his last speech as President he promised to keep active on development, environment and Africa. French media mentionned the project of a Chirac Foundation on sustainable development, with Michel Camdessus as an advisor… is that another name for the World Bank? If the World Bank presidency conferred judicial immunity he might be interested. And if governments want to take advantage of Wolfie’s resignation to put an end to the fight against corruption, then it could be a deal!” George Bush might take some persuading to put this old European on the shortlist, but if other former presidents and prime ministers are being discussed, why not Chirac?
President Bush spells it out. “I do think it’d be good to have an American run the bank”. He said this to the BBC in response to questions about whether Tony Blair could get the job. Mr Bush added that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is in charge of the search for Mr Wolfowitz’s successor, and will compile a short list for the president.
Apparently we are still at first base when it comes to appointing a new World Bank president. Many people are keen for a quick resolution on this issue – not least many of us bloggers, the German government (which would hate to have the full G8 summit dominated by this same question), and Bank staff. It appears, though that we may have to wait some time. Deputy Secretary of the US Treasury Robert Kimmit told reporters at the G8 finance ministers meeting in Potsdam that his boss Henry Paulson “is not at this time talking names of people but how best to run the process to end up with the best person to run this important institution”.
You could see it as stating the obvious. Or as helping to make it less likely that he’ll have to continue working with his rival and soon-to-be-former boss. Either way UK Chancellor Gordon Brown has briefed Reuters that the next World Bank is likely to be an American (i.e. not Tony Blair). Also ‘peppered’ with questions at the G8 finance minsters’ get-together was US Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt, one of the rumoured candidates. Continue reading
Moisés Naím, editor in chief of Foreign Policy magazine, served as Venezuela’s minister of trade and industry and as executive director of the World Bank in the early 1990s, and has has published a very thoughful opinion piece about the qualifications a WBG president should bring to the job. Posted yesterday in the Dallas News, presumably an outlet that is well-read in and near the White House.