What makes Jose Antonio Ocampo a good candidate for President of the World Bank

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.

One of his main areas of research has been the role of multilateral development banks, such as the World Bank, where he has put forward many interesting and pioneering ideas. These he could now apply to help reduce poverty and increase growth in developing countries. Jose Antonio firmly believes in the value of institutions like the World Bank, and its great importance for supporting development.

Jose Antonio has done research with some of the best academics in both the developed and developing countries. He has recently collaborated most closely with Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, with whom they have produced a series of outstanding policy relevant books. If elected World Bank President, I am sure Jose Antonio Ocampo would use the best research and policy experience on development available worldwide to improve and strengthen the World Bank.

Ocampo therefore would be ideally suited for the role of President of the World Bank, given his achievements and knowledge. The fact that he comes from a developing country, to which he has made such a major contribution, should count in his favour. The time has come to appoint a citizen from a developing economy to head the institution whose task is to promote development.

Professor Stephany Griffith–Jones
Initiative for Policy Dialogue
Columbia University

7 thoughts on “What makes Jose Antonio Ocampo a good candidate for President of the World Bank

  1. It would surprise many if someone so qualified and not an American were to get the nod from the World Bank’s board. He certainly appears more suitable than the other contender in the cited articles about what’s going on in middle-income country capitals today.

    Is there evidence that these names are seriously in play among finance ministers who–solely–make nominations? Any evidence at all? Even the serious media accounts (Reuters http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/21/us-worldbank-idUSBRE82K04620120321?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&rpc=71 ), the talk is that there needs to be a “serious competition”, which does not guarantee even on “merit-based” criteria the selection of a non-American or that the nomination process is not mainly a way to validate a process that has never been used and is not clear on its details.

    It does, however, put pressure on the US Administration to name someone credible and qualified. There is no shortage of Americans who fit that bill, and the selection need not necessarily be “the best” but the one that the Bank’s executive directors and their masters can agree on.

    There’s been a lot of wishful thinking about candidates: Hillary (pro, pro, pro), Sachs (pro and con), Summers (mainly con, but some pro), Rice, Ngozi, Sri Mulyani…

    Or is this like the Republican primaries? Create buzz, and watch the rising stars according to the media fall to earth as people get to know them!

    The 23rd approaches.

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  3. I think Mr. Jose Antonio Ocampo is the ideal candidate for the Presidency of World Bank because of his many achievements, his knowledge and research on areas such as developing countries, his experience as Colombian Minister on three portfolios, his already knowledge on World World Bank matters, and research on areas such as reducing poverty.

    I am not a banking or finance person, but I do back-up Professor Stephany Griffith–Jones’ words 100%. Knowing that Mr. Jose Antonio Ocampo is coming from a developing country like Colombia, which has had trouble for so many years, he is totally capable of doing the job right because of his direct, actual and present knowledge of the problems developing countries have. He would not be an outsider for these countries, and at the same time will unite developed and developing countries to understand and help each other more.

    • Jose Antonio Ocampo is the man any day. The WORLD BANK we must know is distinct from the IMF; while IMF re by not quires Economists with their classical and Keynesian theories with which they have used to juggle third world Economies, to which Okonjo Iweala belongs by not only her credential by also her ANTICIDENTS: The World Bank is a Poverty fighting Institution, to which Antonio Ocampo belongs. To fight poverty through such Institution as the World Bank you should not only have requisite/relevant exposure but be humanly inclined to the poor. Okonjo Iweala does not have the Sympathy nor the empathy for the poor. She thinks and acts as like the poor is poor because he cant do well. Her arrogance is typical of the privileged African. Besides her contact with Obasanjo and co has exposed her to uncleanliness. The Debt repayment Saga with Obasanjo remains a shame. You give her IMF to preside, not the World Bank. We in the poor world can afford it in the hands of spoilts experts.

  4. I think he is the most qualified candidate for the presidency of the World Bank.
    His experience, achievements and knowledge makes him the best candidate

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