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 ?
– from a developing country (even better, an IDA borrower) = 1
– generally seen as supporting Washington consensus and top-down solutions, position on equity and bottom-up unclear = 0
– experience of managing the Bank itself and generally agreed to have done a good job = 1
TOTAL = 2
– from the US (even though family from an emerging economy) = 0.25
– views vary on his attitudes to Washington consensus, with most suggesting that he has been in favour of public and free health care, and bottom-up community-driven development, but some questioning his record on ARVs and patents = 0.75
– president of a university but this is often more like chairman of a board rather than CEO = 0.5
– from Colombia (developing country but not IDA) = 0.75
– against washington consensus and pro-equity, though position on bottom-up development not 100% clear = 0.75
– USG of UN is about the same scale of management as Ngozi but not quite the same as managing a bank = 0.75
TOTAL = 2.25
So a pretty close run thing (and Obama is to be congratulated for finding such a strong candidate – some of the others suggested by the media would have scored 0) – but Ocampo comes out on top.
Of course a more public debate would clarify the candidates’ positions on the issues – which is the most vital thing. Indeed we may be misinterpreting some positions. Therefore each candidate should publish a clear manifesto declaring their positions, and preferably the Bank should organise public hustings at which staff and others can ask key questions, or televise the interviews. For a Bank so committed to transparency, this would be a small ask, and at least show that, even if a US President is almost inevitable, the process has been transparent.”