In a hearing by the House Committee on Financial Services last Tuesday about ” The Role and Effectiveness of the World Bank in Combating Global Poverty “, Nobel Laureate, Joseph Stiglitz argues for appointing an “Interim President, for the next 20 to 24 months”
“It will take time and care to reform Bank governance. Another president chosen under the flawed conventions of the past may have a particularly difficult time reaching the required consensus for these reforms. The appropriate course of action at this juncture may be the appointment of an interim President, for the next 20 to 24 months, who, while continuing with oversight of the day to day operations of the bank, sees as his/her mandate reaching consensus on a new model of governance. A system that may have worked well at the end of World War II, when colonialism was still alive and well, is unsuited for the twenty-first century.
There are, fortunately, some excellent candidates, people from the Third World, who know about development and have proven their competency in both politics and economics. I hesitate to mention names, but one that quickly comes to mind is Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a scholar at the Brookings Institution, who proved her mettle during the difficult period of the East Asia crisis, while serving as the World Bank’s country director for Malaysia, and who subsequently showed her effectiveness in promoting development and fighting corruption as Nigeria’s Finance Minister and, later, Foreign Minister. It would send a wonderful message to the world that those who fight consistently and effectively for development and against corruption get rewarded, regardless of political connections, gender, and nation of origin.”
To watch a video of the full hearing and read the statements from those who testified, including Stiglitz, see here.