Race over, blog bows out. Until next time

With the dust settling after the first contested World Bank Presidential selection process, this blog will be bowing out. We hope we’ve added some transparency to a pretty intransparent process, and will definitely be back next time to demand more change, share ideas and open space for public debate.

The final word goes to the G24 group of developing countries at the World Bank.  This is from the communiqué they issued last Friday:

We recognize that for the first time in the history of the World Bank there was an open process for the selection of the President that involved a debate on the priorities and the future of the institution.

Future selection processes must build on this process, but must be transparent and truly merit-based.

 

 

Some Reactions

AFP: Nigeria World Bank candidate salutes Kim, calls for change

FT: World Bank picks Kim as next head

Economist: Kim for president

The Atlantic: Shocking News About the Next World Bank Boss

BBC: Africa’s World Bank hopes dashed as Okonjo-Iweala loses

The Telegraph: A 20th century bank facing 21st century problems

Irish Times: World Bank accused of lack of transparency after US chief chosen

The Conversation: Three-Card Trick: Kim is new World Bank President


Oxfam sums it up

 

Oxfam’s Elizabeth Stuart said: “Dr. Kim is an excellent choice for World Bank president and a true development hero. But we’ll never know if he was the best candidate for the job, because there was no true and fair competition.”

“The world deserved better than a selection process with a forgone conclusion. Poor and emerging countries are insisting the Bank be more accountable and open in how it does business. This sham process has damaged the institution, and sullied Dr. Kim’s appointment.”

Final Hours; or The Progressive’s Dilemma

Well folks today is the day.

It seems that the unnamed “A Bank Insider,” the most frequent poster to this blog, has taken off the gloves, with his declaration — not even couched as a prediction — that a Kim presidency would be “ineffective and tarnished” and would mean that the process in “now completely tarnished.”

So let me add a few words on behalf of those who have felt the process has been “completely tarnished” all along. I’m dragging out the overused “progressive” label as a convenience to describe those in NGOs/civil society who have been advocating for reform (or in some cases abolition) of the World Bank for many years.

For us, whichever way the decision goes represents a partial victory. If Ngozi is chosen it will be a victory for overturning the process, particularly if the US is defeated in procedural vote. It would change forever the assumptions of how the Bank is run, and hopefully would mean change in the quota system that governs how other high-level positions are chosen.

But it would also be a victory for the status quo. Continue reading

South Africa expresses “serious concerns” about World Bank process

FT reports that “South Africa on Monday expressed serious concerns about the transparency of the process to select the next head of the World Bank”

Pravin Gordhan, South Africa’s finance minister told reporters  “From what I’m hearing there are serious concerns about the levels of transparency. And when we link that to the third element, which is has this process met the merit-based criteria, I think we are going to find that the process falls short,”

No merit based discussion took place

Sources tell me that despite the fact that the board met today for what was planned to be a discussion on the merits of the two remaining candidates, Jim Yong Kim and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, no such discussion took place, with only the African directors speaking for Ngozi. Ocampo hit the bull’s eye when he said in his withdrawal statement “… as we approach the final phase of this process, it is clear that it is becoming no longer a competition on the merits of the candidates but a political exercise.”

So the Obama who told the American people 4 years ago “yes we can”, is now telling the rest of the world “no, you really cant”.  He may talk the talk, but he sure does not walk the walk.