Jeff Sachs claims to have cleared his first main hurdle – a nomination from a member country of the Bank. His website carries the following quote from the Prime Minister of Kenya:
“On behalf of the Government of Kenya and that of myself, it is my esteemed pleasure, honour and privilege to nominate Professor Jeffrey David Sachs for appointment to the position of President of the World Bank. Professor Sachs is one of the world’s leading global economic development experts who has advanced innovative solutions on poverty alleviation, health, environmental sustainability and aid policy that are relevant and proven to have worked in a number of developing economies… I have known Professor Sachs for more than 2 decades, and I am certain that my views represent not only myself but also hundreds of African leaders, scientists, private sector executives, development practitioners and hundreds of communities in Africa.”
Raila Odinga, Prime Minister of Kenya
The Bank’s sketchy process says that Kenya would have to make this nomination through their constituency – currently led by Sudan. There are 20 countries in that constituency, so it’s possible that the nomination may not materialise if the others decide they don’t want Kenya to effectively put all their heads above the parapet. And we mustn’t forget that the Bangladeshi Prime Minister said she wanted Muhammad Yunus nominated, but no one expects that to happen, least of all Yunus.
So: (a) if true – though it was on his website yesterday, it hasn’t been reported in the media as far as I can see; and (b) if the verbal endorsement leads to an actual nomination; then this truly changes the nature of the race.
Eyes will then turn to the White House – still considering nominating their own candidate, and presumably under pressure from Sachs supporters to consider him. Surely they can’t stay on the fence too much longer? After that, the question will be whether other countries, particularly the BRICS, want to back one of their own. The minimum requirement for a merit-based process should be that there are a multiplicity of candidates. Previously I’d thought this unlikely, now I’m not so sure.