Ngozi calls for a televised debate

In an interview published today in the New York Times, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala calls for a televised debate between the three candadetes for the position of President of the World Bank:

” I think the media should call for a debate of the three candidates, like you have for other important positions, to see who really knows what they are doing. Let’s all of us have a televised debate showing the world what we can do, so people can judge for themselves who is the most qualified to lead.”

Race heating up, in good ways and bad–a suggestion for integrity and transparency

As the world press begins to take an interest in the selection of Robert Zoellick’s successor, last week’s events prove one thing: Having a choice of candidates, for the first time, confirms that the job of World Bank president is important, and that stakeholders care. Continue reading

Ocampo and Iweala hit campaign trail: but where the hell is Kim?

Has anyone heard a peep out of Jim Yong Kim?  He wants to be President of the world’s most influential development institution, yet – as far as I can tell – he hasn’t given a single interview to any press outlet anywhere.

Meanwhile his two more experienced rivals are already all over the airwaves, often attacking Kim. Ocampo was on Bloomberg and had this to say to AFP:

“He is a very competent doctor, but if we speak strictly about development experience, the Nigerian minister and I amply surpass him.”

Iweala gave the Washington Postperhaps the most barbed quote of the week on Kim Continue reading

Good Reads

Few opinion pieces worth reading this Saturday morning.

Ocampo hits back

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.” Continue reading

“Ready. Steady. Ngo”

In a very pointed editorial, the Economist comes out in support of Ngozi without mincing words. In “Hats off to Ngozi:  A golden opportunity for the rest of the world to show Barack Obama the meaning of meritocracy”, the Economist puts its argument this way:

“For almost 70 years, the leadership of the IMF and World Bank has been subject to an indefensible carve-up. The head of the Continue reading

Kim calls for “an open, inclusive World Bank”

As US nominee Jim Yong Kim sets off on a global “listening tour” to promote his candidacy, he has declared his priorities for the Bank in an FT op-Ed. While thin on actual policy content, Kim gives strong support for “an open, inclusive World Bank” which “must give developing nations a greater voice.” He also attempts to calm the ‘anti-growth’ storm, by confirming that he recognises “that economic growth is vital to generate resources for investment in health, education and public goods.” Continue reading

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

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: Continue reading