An interesting blog by Felix Salmon of Reuters arguing that the nomination of Ngozi and Ocampo means that the White House should try to convince Hillary Clinton to accept to be nominated, at least until the US election season is over.
Here is how he puts it: “This really puts the pressure on the White House to knock it out of the park with their nomination, because Ngozi, in particular, is broadly regarded both within and outside the Bank as being pretty much perfect for the job. She’s a whip-smart economist, she’s honest, she’s imaginative, she’s dedicated, she’s expert at navigating the Bank’s labyrinthine bureaucracy and politics, and she’s passionate about the way that the Bank can really make the world a better place.”
Adding: “If Hillary is nominated, the job is hers: it’s as simple as that. And she would be very good at it, too. She wouldn’t even need to serve out a full term. While she had the job, she might even be able to engineer a way in which she could be succeeded by Ngozi, or some other highly-qualified candidate without a US passport. Which alone would make her one of the most important and revolutionary presidents in the Bank’s history.”
Which begs the question, how about creating a “Deputy President” position occupied by a non-American?
Below is a guest post from Chilean economist Stephany Griffith-Jones, currently Financial Markets Program Director at the Initiative for Policy Dialogue at Columbia University:
It is excellent news that developing countries are putting forward such outstanding candidates for the Presidency of the World Bank. I have been lucky to have worked closely with one of the two candidates, Jose Antonio Ocampo. He would be an excellent choice for many reasons.
Jose Antonio provides the rare combination of an experienced and successful policy-maker at the highest level (he was Minister of three portfolios in Colombia, including Finance, but also Agriculture and Planning), an outstanding international civil servant again at the highest level (including as Under Secretary General at the United Nations, as well as well as Head of the UN Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean), and a leading academic researcher in key issues relating to development and macro-economic policy.
In the wake of Jeffrey Sachs’ unprecedented open candidacy for World Bank president comes important news that developing country economists may also join the race: former minister of finance for Colombia and former senior UN official José Antonio Ocampo, and Nigerian finance minister and former high level World Bank official Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. (Okonjo-Iweala is denying she will seek the position.) If this happens, in a similarly public way, as it appears it will, this will be a huge and irreversible step forward for World Bank governance reform. It would be a leap closer towards what the World Bank’s members have officially adopted as their preference for choosing the Bank’s leader: an open, merit-based process. A contest, of sorts, between Ocampo and Sachs (and perhaps Okonjo-Iweala) – presumably with developing country support behind them – would be a sea change from the Bank’s past practice of putting the U.S.’ (and the Global North’s) interests first in selecting presidents, with developing countries excluded. The succession this time is far different than in 2005, for example, when the Bush administration simply declared that Paul Wolfowitz would helm the Bank, to howls of protest but no known alternative nominees.