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 ?
Jim Yong Kim, the US nominee to head the World Bank, is coming under fire over a book he co-authored that criticises “neoliberalism” and “corporate-led economic growth”, arguing that in many cases they had made the middle classes and the poor in developing countries worse off.
Some economists are arguing thatDying for Growth, jointly edited by Dr Kim and published in 2000, puts too great a focus on health policy over broader economic growth.
“Dr Kim would be the first World Bank president ever who seems to be anti-growth,” said William Easterly, professor of economics at New York University. “Even the severest of World Bank critics like me think that economic growth is what we want.”
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 question that keeps on nagging at me since yesterday is:
Objectively speaking, If Obama did not pick Jim Yong Kim, would anyone in the World think he should be the President of the World Bank?
Sachs, Ocampo, Ngozi , and even Larry Summers, would have been, and in fact were recommended and proposed by many others, but Kim? May be for the WHO or the Aids Fund, but I doubt for the World Bank ! What do you think?
The opinion-editorials are starting to come in. Here is 1st one from the Guardian. It starts off with:
“Barack Obama made two statements that mattered at the White House on Friday. The first, identifying himself with the family of the shot black teenager Trayvon Martin, exemplified why this president is special. The other, nominating Jim Yong Kim to run the World Bank, showed him as a business-as-usual US leader.”
WASHINGTON, March 23, 2012 – The Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank confirmed today that, as announced on February 17, the period for submitting nominations for the position of the next President of the World Bank closed on Friday, March 23. The Board is pleased to announce that the following three nominees will be considered for the position:
Jim Yong Kim, a US national and President of Dartmouth College, New Hampshire
José Antonio Ocampo, a Colombian national and Professor at Columbia University, New York
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a Nigerian national and Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Nigeria Continue reading →
After Sachs dropped out and the nomination of Ocampo was abandoned, its quite clear that we now have only two candidates left; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Jim Yong Kim. So I thought of posting for you two older videos of both Continue reading →
There is huge enthusiasm in Washington this morning, and no small measure of surprise.
A World Bank president nominee with a sense of humor and who mixes with his stakeholders. After seven years of social awkwardness, Jim Kim’s ability to ‘mix it up’, as demonstrated in this “Dartmouth Idol” video, will be a welcome change.
A Korean-born physician and pioneer in the treatment of HIV, AIDS and tuberculosis, Kim has the breadth of experience on development issues needed to carry out the financial institution’s anti-poverty mission. He brings Continue reading →
There are important questions to discuss. Does Kim have enough political experience to manage the Bank’s board? Is he high profile enough? He has experience in health, but what about financial markets? Will the BRICs be pleased? Can he do the robot while wearing a white-studded leather jacket and spaceman sungalsses?
Some of those questions will have to wait, but I can happily announce that we can answer the last one. Would you ever catch Zoellick doing this?