Ocampo has finally flexed his muscles in the WB President race, arguing in a FT interview that Jim Yong Kim “lacks expertise”. Ocampo says:
“I think in terms of development expertise it is quite clear to everyone that the finance minister of Nigeria and myself stand above the US candidate, who has very narrow expertise in development. He is an excellent physician, nobody denies that, but we’re talking about a development institution.”
In favour of his own candidacy, he says:
“Finance ministers know about how to allocate scarce public resources. During my time as finance minister in Colombia was when we launched a modern domestic bond market for government securities, so I bring that expertise.”
He added that the Bank’s key tasks are the fight against global poverty, its contribution to tackling global “public goods” problems, such as climate change, and should inrease funding to infrastructure.
However, he also leaves himself open to discuss a possible withdrawal of himself or Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to have only one developing country candidate fight the US candidate Kim.
Ultimately he supports a merit based selection, to avoid “a very unfair race”. With interviews rumoured to start in just over a week, let’s hope this forms the foundation of the selection process rather than an inofficial sign off of the usual ‘gentlemen’s agreement’.