The Treasury Department has issued a press release documenting nominee Bob Zoellick’s peripatetic visits to Africa, Europe and Latin America on a ‘charm surge’ to meet with Bank stakeholders. After his words about the need for healing, what is conspicuous by its absence is any meeting with Bank staff during his 15 day trip, which is being cofinanced by US taxpayers and his own frequent flyer points.
It perhaps behooves Mr. Zoellick and his handlers to indicate when he will talk to Bank staff and management, who need to get a measure of the man and whether his leadership skills and management style are an upgrade from what the world has put up with for these last two long years. He also needs to confirm whether he has some outsiders coming with him to the Bank, and what exactly they will be helping with.
It is surprising that the global NGOs who have raised concerns about his old jobs (advocating for protected farmers, global trade liberalization, Big Pharma, and Goldman Sachs) have not sought time on his agenda.
Presumably there is lots of time between his return and the Board’s interviews and formal consideration of his nomination (and any others) for him to meet with Bank staff and civil society to answer their questions and show he has “the right stuff” to be World Bank President.
When will the rest of his schedule be announced?
US Treasury Press Release June 4, 2007
Zoellick Begins Global Consultations on Development and the World Bank
Heading to Africa, Europe, and Latin America, June 4-19
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Within a week of being nominated by President George W. Bush to be President of the World Bank, Robert B. Zoellick will travel to Africa, Europe, and Latin America June 4-19 to consult with senior government and multilateral leaders, development and finance officials, NGO representatives, and other World Bank partners to learn more about the Bank’s priorities and programs, and to hear their views on the challenges facing particular countries and regions. Zoellick will visit Ghana (the President of the African Union in 2007); Ethiopia (the African Union Headquarters); South Africa; the United Kingdom; France; Belgium (to meet EC officials and Members of the European Parliament); Germany (EU presidency country); Norway; Mexico; and Brazil on this trip. Zoellick recently returned from trips to Asia and the Middle East in May, but looks forward to consultation in those regions, too. “As a nominee to be World Bank President, I would like to consult broadly with potential colleagues, experts, Bank partners and stakeholders on the issues of development, sustainable growth, and overcoming poverty. These are key issues facing the Bank and its programs in the developing world. My immediate goal is simple: I want to listen and to learn,” Zoellick said. “I wanted to start in Africa. The World Bank’s efforts to care for Africans in need, while investing in Africa’s potential and promoting hope and opportunity are vital,” Zoellick said. “Too many Africans, and others around the world, struggle with weak governance, corruption, inadequate schools and health programs, poor infrastructure, environmental problems, and restraints on economic freedom and property rights that inhibit strong, sustainable growth. The World Bank can help.” “In addition to gaining the developing world perspective, I hope to integrate the views of key donor countries, middle-income developing economies, and other partners into the Bank’s work,” Zoellick said. “Following my consultations in Africa, I look forward to meeting with European colleagues and officials in Mexico and Brazil to get their views on ways to advance sustainable development throughout the world.”
The meeting plans are still being developed, but the tentative schedule is as follows:
- June 6, Accra, Ghana: Meet with officials from both the AU Presidency country and others from West Africa, including NGO representatives.
- June 7, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Visit the headquarters of the AU to hear from AU officials and national representatives from across Sub-Saharan Africa. • June 9, South Africa: Meet leaders from South Africa and others from southern Africa. • June 10-12, Europe: Meet Ministers, Commissioners, MEPs, and other leaders from the United Kingdom, France and the EU countries. • June 13, Germany: German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, has offered to convene a session with her EU colleagues. Zoellick will also meet other German officials (who hold the EU presidency). • June 14-15, Oslo, Norway: Meet with the Norwegian government.
- June 16-18, Mexico City, Mexico and Brasilia, Brazil: Meet development and economics officials from both countries including Finance and Public Credit Minister Agustín Carstens of Mexico, who is the current chair of the World Bank’s Development Committee.
Since being nominated, Mr. Zoellick has been meeting with the 24 Executive Directors of the World Bank in Washington, to gain counsel, insights, and suggestions from representatives from around the world. President George W. Bush nominated Zoellick to be President of the World Bank on May 30, 2007. Current World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz will serve through June 30. The Bank’s Board has indicated it expects to close the nomination process by June 15 and select a new President June 30.
Please contact Ann Marie Hauser with Treasury Public Affairs at 202-622-2960 if you or your news organization is interested in open press opportunities throughout this trip.