Can Jim Yong Kim Reinvent the World Bank?

Jim Yong Kim – a public health expert, president of Dartmouth College
and astute rapper – is the US government’s candidate for the presidency
of the World Bank. As Dani Rodrik, a development expert at Harvard
University, summed it up this morning, “it’s nice to see that Obama can
still surprise us.” Will the new candidate, who was not on anybody’s
shortlist for the position, be able to reinvent the World Bank?

The current process, in which the US and European Continue reading

A transparent, merit-based process: key steps

Now there’s a choice of candidates, for the first time it’s possible to say we may have the basis for a merit-based process for the selection of the World Bank President. Whether that’s what we get is, however, far less likely. If the Board is serious about making the process truly transparent and merit-based, here are the bare minimum things that should happen:

  1. Public interviews. It will simply not be credible if the Board selects a candidate behind closed doors with no one else able to see how the candidates stood up to questioning.
  2. Manifestos for candidates. Every candidate should be required to set out what he or she think the main challenges facing the Bank are and how they would deal with them as President.
  3. Public debates. Candidates should submit themselves for questioning to a variety of forums, including public debates.
  4. Transparent voting. All countries should vote individually, not through their constituencies, and should announce who they are voting for and why.

Of course, none of this would prevent the backroom deals that the US will use to ensure its candidate gets in, but at least everyone would be able to judge who the best candidate really is, and learn a lot more about what they stand for. None of these are difficult to organise, and all of them take place routinely at national level for senior public servants.  Why not for the World Bank?

Two questions on interviewing the candidates

I am wondering if visitors to this site have any thoughts on what the candidates should be asked during the interviews?  and how should the bank report on these interviews and how the candidates performed?

I, for one, would like to see these interviews made public via YouTube or something similar, in keeping with what the bank says its new transparency and openness policies, but I know I am dreaming here.

Its a question of what passport do you have

I think this year is quite a significant year for international diplomacy and global development. I say that If only because its the first time ever we have a woman, and an African, to ever be nominated to head any major international institution; the position of President of the World Bank Group.  True, the usual international hypocrisy will most likely not pick her for the position despite her impeccable credentials and because she does not have the “right passport” , never the less, I think its worth taking a closer look at this woman and her background:

A question of merit

The question that keeps on nagging at me since yesterday is:

Objectively speaking, If Obama did not pick Jim Yong Kim, would anyone in the World think he should be the President of the World Bank?

Sachs, Ocampo, Ngozi , and even Larry Summers, would have been, and in fact were recommended and proposed by many others, but Kim?  May be for the WHO or the Aids Fund, but I doubt for the World Bank ! What do you think?

Ocampo is in – what’s he got to offer?

There’s been plenty of discussion on this blog and elsewhere about Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and the surprise US pick, Jim Yong Kim has provoked a flurry of interest, not least in his dancing prowess, but former Colombian finance Minister, Jose Antonio Ocampo seems to have sneaked through under the radar.  So I thought we should see why his supporters are backing him. Here’s the most detailed campaign pitch, from Boston University Professor Kevin Gallagher, writing in the Financial Times:

If the decision is finally based on merit, as it should be, Ocampo will win: he is far and away better than any on the list of credible names, including Continue reading

“World Bank: global carve-up”

The opinion-editorials are starting to come in. Here is 1st one from the Guardian. It starts off with:

“Barack Obama made two statements that mattered at the White House on Friday. The first, identifying himself with the family of the shot black teenager Trayvon Martin, exemplified why this president is special. The other, nominating Jim Yong Kim to run the World Bank, showed him as a business-as-usual US leader.”