About Jesse Griffiths

Director of the European Network on Debt and Development, Eurodad www.eurodad.org

Ocampo and Iweala hit campaign trail: but where the hell is Kim?

Has anyone heard a peep out of Jim Yong Kim?  He wants to be President of the world’s most influential development institution, yet – as far as I can tell – he hasn’t given a single interview to any press outlet anywhere.

Meanwhile his two more experienced rivals are already all over the airwaves, often attacking Kim. Ocampo was on Bloomberg and had this to say to AFP:

“He is a very competent doctor, but if we speak strictly about development experience, the Nigerian minister and I amply surpass him.”

Iweala gave the Washington Postperhaps the most barbed quote of the week on Kim Continue reading

A transparent, merit-based process: key steps

Now there’s a choice of candidates, for the first time it’s possible to say we may have the basis for a merit-based process for the selection of the World Bank President. Whether that’s what we get is, however, far less likely. If the Board is serious about making the process truly transparent and merit-based, here are the bare minimum things that should happen:

  1. Public interviews. It will simply not be credible if the Board selects a candidate behind closed doors with no one else able to see how the candidates stood up to questioning.
  2. Manifestos for candidates. Every candidate should be required to set out what he or she think the main challenges facing the Bank are and how they would deal with them as President.
  3. Public debates. Candidates should submit themselves for questioning to a variety of forums, including public debates.
  4. Transparent voting. All countries should vote individually, not through their constituencies, and should announce who they are voting for and why.

Of course, none of this would prevent the backroom deals that the US will use to ensure its candidate gets in, but at least everyone would be able to judge who the best candidate really is, and learn a lot more about what they stand for. None of these are difficult to organise, and all of them take place routinely at national level for senior public servants.  Why not for the World Bank?

Ocampo is in – what’s he got to offer?

There’s been plenty of discussion on this blog and elsewhere about Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and the surprise US pick, Jim Yong Kim has provoked a flurry of interest, not least in his dancing prowess, but former Colombian finance Minister, Jose Antonio Ocampo seems to have sneaked through under the radar.  So I thought we should see why his supporters are backing him. Here’s the most detailed campaign pitch, from Boston University Professor Kevin Gallagher, writing in the Financial Times:

If the decision is finally based on merit, as it should be, Ocampo will win: he is far and away better than any on the list of credible names, including Continue reading

Nomination day – 2, 3 or 4 way race?

Nominations close at 6pm Washington time today – that’s 10pm GMT.  Two candidates appear definite.

Columbia University’s Jeff Sachs says he’s in, nominated by a collection of developing countries.  Nigerian Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will face him, nominated by the South African consituency, which includes her home country and Angola.  Slightly unbelievably, the US is yet to make up its mind which of an unimpressive list of second tier candidates it wants to choose.

But what of former Colombian finance minister, Jose Antonio Ocampo? Continue reading

Southern countries step up for the fight: Okonjo-Iweala and Ocampo to be nominated….

… according to a Reuters report:

Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and former Colombian Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo are set to be nominated to lead the World Bank, sources with knowledge of emerging market efforts to find candidates said on Tuesday.

It goes on: Continue reading

Qualities required – two interesting views

Two well written pieces have caught my eye recently, with different views about what makes a good World Bank president. First, former Venezuelan Minister and Bank executive director Moisés Naím lists what he believes are five misconceptions in the Financial Times:

1. The World Bank is a bank and thus its leader should be a banker. No! The Bank is more than a bank. It is a consulting company for developing countries, a multilateral organisation, an intensely political entity as well as a highly technical one. Its role as an international lending bank is declining relative to its advisory role.

2. Its leader needs to be a politician with access to the US President and a stellar Rolodex. No! Being chums with the president and other heavyweights of course helps. But just having access to power without also having a vision for the institution has been disastrous…

3. The candidate needs to be a development expert. No! Continue reading

Candidate gossip spreads, real issues begin to rear their heads…

The self-nomination of Jeff Sachs into the ‘race’ has certainly livened things up. David Bosco reports that Bank staff don’t think much of Sachs – which may be a good or a bad thing depending on your opinion of Bank staff. Sachs has shown he has some political nous by highlighting one central weakness of the Bank under Zoellick – the desire to prioritise everything.  It always looked suspiciously more like empire building than strategic direction. Continue reading