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:
– 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

Kim:
– 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
TOTAL =1.5

Ocampo
– 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.”

15 thoughts on “Sizing up the candidates

  1. The development expert with more than 30 years of experience seems to miss out that reviews of Mrs Okonjo-Iweala’s management success, particularly as a Managing Director at the World Bank, are very mixed, with particularly low marks for her abilities at leading and managing change. He also misses the point that university presidents have a far more complicated management role and must do far more than ‘chair’ meetings, to be, at Ivy League and other good universities, a successful president, which “it’s generally agreed” Jim Kim has been. We’d all like to know more about the ethical standards Mr Ocampo applied when he was at the UN.

    It’s “a close run thing”, but far more even than “the person [who’s] worked with several of the candidates (and expects to work with them all in the future)” has scored them.

    An ‘open, merit-based and transparent’ selection process will ignore passport, if it’s truly merit-based. All of the candidates have lived in the United States for a good part of their adult lives. Passport and residency are not the sole indicators of broad perspective and inclusive habits.

    • If there had been a selection of Presidents from different countries, your point about merit-based processes being irrespective of passports would be valid. But not when you’ve had 11 Presidents, all of them US citizens. If the next President is also a US citizen, everyone will know they got the job because of their passport…

    • No word exists like “must” when it comes to professional positions as world bank president. Ocampo has several misappropriations issue with the UN. in my view is an open game.Iweala as a women going by how well she has done deserves it. Kim has quite a good profile too.

  2. Ocampo has by far more policy making, technical and diplomatic experience and skills than the other two candidates. As many observers and serious economists have commented, if the decision is based on true merits and capabilities due the demands and challenges of the post, Jose Antonio Ocampo must be the next president of the World Bank.

  3. Your scoring seems a bit subjective, and allows you to place Kim in last place and your preferred candidate just shy of being the perfect candidate. What is the possible range of scores? What is the basis for .25 points versus 1 full point? How many points are awarded for the announced qualifications (just having such is a significant step forward in multilateral elections).

    • Kim does not understand Economics 101. Ocampo is re-inventing himself from the UN. Ngozi has the track record of leading no other bank than the World Bank. She knows her staff and her staff know her. Above all she is a woman with an armada of skills that the two men in the shortlist can’t match. This is victory for women in this world. Go! Ngozi Go! Good Girl!!!

  4. Putting all the candidates on a scale, I believe Dr. Iweala will surely come out top. She has the expertise and experience which none of the other candidates can match. I believe the world will see these great qualities and give the job who really deserves it: Dr. Iweala.

  5. The entire world and the world bank itself will be fooled, if Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala does not win the votes to become the next World Bank President after years of leading the world bank as its managing director, vice president and head of administration. Ngozi is a woman and extremely too competent to be ignored at this time. The Bank has been ruled by men forever, and at this time one woman who is more qualified and competent than two men in the shortlist should save the world the embarasment of gender insensitivity by those who are tasked to make this decision. Probably, Bank staff should be made to vote to choose thier leader too. The World Bank is a bank for all sectors and not just health or epidemiology and medical anthropology for that matter; nor is it a place for politicians who have spent thier time in other specialised agencies to re-invent themselves. The race is not much about the nationality of the candidates, but about the moral question on how world leaders are chosen. The World is watching!!!

  6. Dr Ngozi Iweala is the best candidate for the job. Her credentials and experience surpass the other two candidates. With her vast experience at the World Bank itself, there will be no learning curve while on the job. As a federal minister of finance of a major developing nation, she understands the developmental challenges of many economies around the world and would therefore engineer policies that can substantially promote economic and social growth, capacity building and sustenability in developing nations.

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