Interview dates leaked – decision due 11 April

The interview and decision dates at the board are now set. The World Bank board conducts the interviews. They are as follows:

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala – 9 April
Jose Antonio Ocampo –  10 April
Jim Yong Kim – 11 April

Apparently the board will discuss and vote on the decision straight away after the interview with Kim on the 11th and a decision is expected to be announced that day.

Amended on 30/3 with updated dates.

Sizing up the candidates

Now that we know the three candidates, a lot of ink will be spilled weighing them up against each other. I asked an expert with more than 30 years of experience on the field of development  finance to give an opinion. This expert – who has experience in the public, private and third sector – asked to remain anonymous because over the years the person had worked with several of the candidates (and expects to work with them all in the future). The assessment:

“We have 3 candidates. There seems to be a growing consensus that the winner needs to (a) be from a developing country rather than a US candidate; (b) be anti the Washington consensus agenda (privatisation and liberalisation) and pro-equitable and bottom up development; and (c) have experience of managing a large organisation.

So how do the candidates measure up to these criteria ?

Okonjo-Iweala: 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?

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.

Closing of Nominations for President of World Bank

Ocampo got nominated after all. Here is a press release from the World Bank:

WASHINGTON, March 23, 2012 – The Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank confirmed today that, as announced on February 17, the period for submitting nominations for the position of the next President of the World Bank closed on Friday, March 23. The Board is pleased to announce that the following three nominees will be considered for the position:

Jim Yong Kim, a US national and President of Dartmouth College, New Hampshire

José Antonio Ocampo, a Colombian national and Professor at Columbia University, New York

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a Nigerian national and Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Nigeria 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

Talking about the future of the Bank

The latest Washington Post report on the heating up campaign talks about competition for the job.  It does not say that an American won’t be chosen.  It speaks to some World Bank executive directors wanting to make the selection “competitive”. This is not a bad thing because it will legitimize the selection of the American who is put forward.

But in the continuing obsession with the process 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

Susan Rice candidacy in trouble

Between the idle speculation about various “dream” non-candidates (Lula, Sri Mulyani, Bachelet, Ngozi), the shameless self-promotion by academics (Sachs), and the attacks on Larry Summers after the White House leaked his name a month ago, and the NGOs’ unwillingness to go beyond criticizing the selection process to specify the selection criteria and how to apply them, the rumored White House frontrunner, Susan Rice, is in trouble.

Visibility at the UN is a big asset for an international job.  In some ways it compensates for Dr. Rice’s lack of first-hand experience on development issues, and inexperience at running a big organization in the public sector.

The downside is that you make enemies.  And Russia and China are not the kind of enemies you want if the White House was thinking of you as Robert Zoellick’s successor. Continue reading

With Larry Summers’ World Bank Bid in Trouble, Mexico Insists on Open Process

Early last week the New York Times reported that despite all the previous fine rhetoric about the G20 and consultation and open process, the US Treasury Department had decided to rule by decree and impose its own candidate for the next president of the World Bank, the G20 be damned. U.S. officials informed G20 officials that the US intended to “retain control of the bank,” as the Times put it. According to the Times, the G20 countries grumbled but showed no sign of being willing to fight Treasury. The U.S. candidate would be a “lock,” the Times said, “since Europe will almost certainly support whomever Washington picks.” Continue reading