Tick-Tock

Tick-tock, tick-tock – that is the sound of time slipping away from the World Bank’s efforts to hold on to whatever remains of its legitimacy as a global development leader that lives by and values its own rhetoric about democratic governance, meritocracy and transparency.

As the minutes of 14 September 2016 slip inexorably away, so does the likelihood that any of the Bank’s shareholders will dare put forth a candidate to compete with the US’ anointed heir to the throne, as today is the deadline for nominations.

Perhaps one should not complain.  Surely a three week nomination period beginning at the height of the summer holiday season is evidently plenty of time for careful and considered discussion and nomination process for the leader of ‘the world’s pre-eminent’ development institution.  It is clear, after all, that the US found plenty of time to carefully consider the various options and to make the necessary calls. Who could possibly disagree – we mean, of those who count, excluding those pesky critics from misguided NGOs or spoiled staff crying over their lattes?

Well, it seems the realm of the misguided and naïve has been expanding significantly, if the letter by former World Bank officials published in the Financial Times is any indication of current trends. Interestingly, the letter was penned by former World Bank officials who would seem protected from charges of ‘the usual and predicable’ staff discontent with difficult re-structuring and lost perks.

As it is unlikely that we will have any last minute nominations to challenge Kim’s coronation and the perpetuation of the US’ monopoly on the presidency of the Bank, it will be quite interesting to see how the Bank will address the concerns raised about the clearly inadequate process by civil society and present and former Bank staff. We will wait with anticipation for what we can only assume will be a very clever and creative justification by the Bank of the clearly inadequate and absurd process.

In the meantime, spare a thought for Bank staff tasked with engaging with borrowers on the merits of good governance, participatory development, transparency and meritocracy….

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