Who is responsible?

If, as expected, Dr. Kim is announced tomorrow as the new President of the World Bank, who do you suppose should be held responsible by the public, and history, for what promises to be an ineffective and tarnished presidency?

Is it the fault of Obama, who now seems to stand for ” a change no one should believe in”, the BRICS that turned out to be as soft as egg shells, or the board of executive directors which abandoned their responsibilities , according to the bylaws of the organization, and proved that they are simply little more than chess pieces for their Capitals?

If the process is now completely tarnished, who should be held responsible? 


We beg to differ Mr. President

Two opinion pieces today, in the FT and Bloomberg, put forward the argument that Obama should have supported the nomination of Ngozi instead of proposing Jim Yong Kim.
In the FT’s “Obama made the wrong World Bank call”,  Edward Luce says ” if the World Bank board was required to find the best-qualified candidate for the job – Dr Kim would be unlikely to find himself on a shortlist of three. In contrast, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the only African in the running, would be among anyone’s top picks. But the process doesn’t work like that. In spite of Mr Obama’s internationalist aspirations, Continue reading

Can Jim Yong Kim Reinvent the World Bank?

Jim Yong Kim – a public health expert, president of Dartmouth College
and astute rapper – is the US government’s candidate for the presidency
of the World Bank. As Dani Rodrik, a development expert at Harvard
University, summed it up this morning, “it’s nice to see that Obama can
still surprise us.” Will the new candidate, who was not on anybody’s
shortlist for the position, be able to reinvent the World Bank?

The current process, in which the US and European Continue reading

Obama to nominate Korean-born Jim Yong Kim for World Bank head

News just started coming in that President Barack Obama will nominate Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim to head the World Bank, a surprise choice coming on the day the deadline for nominations expires. Anonymous officials have leaked the information to the press ahead of Obama’s official announcement later today.

Kim is a global health expert who has been a Professor of Medicine and Social Medicine and Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He has extensive experience in improving health in developing countries and was Director of the World Health Organization’s HIV/AIDS department from 2004 to 2006, when he oversaw all of the WHO’s work related to HIV/AIDS, focusing on initiatives to help developing countries scale up their treatment, prevention, and care programs, including the “3×5” campaign. US health activists seem to be quite excited with the news.

Meanwhile, Jeff Sachs tweeted:

Jim Kim is a superb nominee for WB. I support him 100%. I thank all who supported me and know they’ll be very pleased with today’s news

Is Sachs going to pull out of the race?

Obama advisor says why Larry Summers won’t be the US nominee

Valerie Jarrett, a senior White House advisor, made it clear in an interview why it’s just as well Larry Summers is happy as President Emeritus at Harvard.

In this Daily Beast interview Jarrett used the occasion to hint how important women are to Obama’s re-election. He enjoys solid support and higher approval ratings than his Republican challengers.

Jarrett was pretty clear: “The jobs of the future are science, engineering and math, and those are the jobs that women have shied away from,” she said. The guarantee of a strong education for every child is the magic bullet, and the administration is working toward that goal. “If you have an education, then the sky is the limit,” she said. Teaching our daughters and colleagues confidence is crucial to the formula for women’s success.”

Summers would, no doubt, agree on the future of good American jobs, and how important it is for more women to be in these STEM fields.  That’s not his reputation, alas, after his speech at Harvard before the faculty removed him, and the White House isn’t going to risk alienating a key bloc of supporters in November.

Discuss among yourselves, journalists. If the reaction to the earlier White House leak didn’t take Summers out, this interview should make it clear that Larry will be staying in Cambridge.

With the Eurozone in a mess, Obama has the political space for a “radical” stand

Robert Zoellick, the only neo-con who survived the Bush era because he left in time , has just announced that he will step down from the top job in the World Bank, and not look for a new term in 1818 H street in Washington.

This move, already in the air given the ambition of the democrats not to leave a Republican-appointee in place for a second term at the World Bank, renews again the well known saga about the appointment of next Bank president: again an American politician or banker? Or for the first time ever since Bretton Woods in 1944 will a non-American citizen be allowed to head the institution?

Despite the whole debate and new commitment to a procedure for a transparent and merit-based selection process to find the best candidate for the top job of the IMF, the Europeans gave a bad example in 2011 by forcing through Madame Lagarde at a time of profound crisis in “old Europe”. Hence the need for European governments to be sure that the IMF will intervene in case of a show down of the Eurozone. This is quite understandable for a bunch of countries who are not able even to decide among themselves about how to help each other out of the crisis. Continue reading