As Paul Wolfowitz clears his World Bank desk and trails more hints about his future, we are again putting this blog on ice. After very active and successful blogging on the Wolfowitz scandal and succession debates, a new Bank leader is about to take up office and normal Bank-tracking can resume through the multitude of websites and initiatives set up for the purpose. Continue reading
Commentators on Rodrigo Rato’s unanticipated announcement that he will step down as head of the IMF have not been slow to make the links with the just ended World Bank leadership selection process. A Reuters piece has three people drawing comparisons, while the Bretton Woods Project was quick off the blocks also with a statement demanding a new process to decide who’ll head the Fund. Continue reading
Amidst the stack of mindless articles carrying verbatim the Bank’s press release on Zoellick’s coronation, Steven Weisman’s piece for the New York Times stands out. He highlights one of the thorny issues that Zoellick will have to deal with – deciding whether Suzanne Rich Folsom, head of the department of institutional integrity, is doing a good job scaring bad corrupt Bank staff, or was doing a bad job of advancing the interests of the Wolfowitz coterie. Continue reading
No this is not Casablanca. Looks like Zoellick met with the Board late last night (an “informal” meeting that lasted four hours reports AFP) to discuss “strategic directions, leadership, corporate governance, multilateral environment and independence ” of the Bank and according to the New York Times, “A bank official familiar with Mr. Zoellick’s meeting said he was very precise in discussing possible changes in the bank’s governing structure and its difficulties on issues like whether to continue lending to so-called middle-income countries that have easy access to capital markets, the need to raise money for the poorest countries and combating corruption in bank lending.”
Fans of 70s German synthpop will particularly enjoy this photo of Robert Zoellick with Brazilian president Lula on Monday.
Yesterday the board posted this on the timeline for Zoellick’s coronation: “The Executive Directors have decided to invite the nominee to an informal meeting on June 20, to discuss key issues of interest to the World Bank Group. … Following this meeting, and follow-up interactions and consultations with their respective authorities, the Executive Directors intend to meet again on June 25, 2007 to decide on the Presidency of the Bank. They expect that all the required processes will be completed by June 30, 2007.”
Robert Zoellick is the one and only candidate for World Bank President. Beginning on June 20, the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors must take some important actions to prepare for a successful five years, and build on the Wolfowitz Scandal to move forward and restore credibility in its own role and behavior.
June 18’s Irish Times puts it well
“However, the Bank’s board must not treat Mr Zoellick’s presidency as a done deal. He must convince them that he has a firm understanding of what it seeks to do and of its full potential in alleviating poverty. The Bank hopes to raise $30 billion over the next three years to further its aims. Mr Zoellick must demonstrate that the Bank deserves that funding and will distribute it without fear or favour.”
Well said, but it’s $39 billion for IDA, as well as a stronger role for the Bank in Middle Income Countries, and greater clarity about what IFC’s role is vis-a-vis other financing sources for the private sector.
The Board has to do three things. Continue reading