Russia backs Kim

Yesterday Russia joined the US, Canada, Mexico, Korea, and Japan in saying they will back Kim.  They have only 1.7 per cent of the votes at the Bank, but they do have one of the 25 board seats. And they’re the first BRICS country to come out for him.  Perhaps tellingly, their statement didn’t explain why they preferred Kim to his more experienced challenger, Okonjo-Iweala.  I expect this is the route those backing Kim for (misguided) geopolitical considerations will go. Praise Kim, don’t mention the alternative, or how they decided his merits were better than Okonjo-Iweala’s. We shall see soon enough.

It’s all over: Dartmouth has spoken

While Bank-watchers were expecting the final decision to be made next week, we should have paid more attention to more reputable sources.  I’m talking of course of Dartmouth College, the US Ivy League school no one outside of the US had ever heard of until its President was plucked from nowhere to run for the World Bank Presidency. Ok, Ok, I’m being unfair. Probably not that many in the US had heard of it either.

But we should all have paid more attention, as they were the first to officially call the outcome of the race. Yes, their head of media relations (a big job, now at least) tells us: Continue reading

An activist’s view of why Jim Yong Kim reflects change–via Professor William Easterly

NYU’s Bill Easterly, whose early alliance with CGD’s Lant Pritchett and other critics of Jim Kim has moderated over the past few weeks, has posted an important and carefully-reasoned contribution in defence of Dr Kim, and why Lant and his fellow travelers have it wrong.

Gregg Gonsalves, a long time AIDS activist and an Open Society Foundations Fellow, points out that traditional economists are backing the status quo, Continue reading

Voting arithmetic examined

With all the excited talk about the candidates and their interviews, lets get down to brass tacks – the World Bank Board is going to hold a straw poll today to check into where countries are. While a formal decision is expected to be taken and announced Monday this straw poll is important to see if the developing countries can coalesce around one candidate and make the Europeans think again about the gentleman’s agreement (read: sordid back room deal with the Americans). Who has the numbers?

It is all a bit complicated because the Bank is in the middle of their capital increase, which has not fully gone through all capitals yet. Meaning the voting rights at the board are neither the pre-2010 agreement levels, nor the final 2010 agreement levels. The Bank corporate secretary helpfully published a new table of voting rights by executive director yesterday.

Here’s the arithmetic as far as we know or can guess.

  • US, Canada, Japan for Kim. Lets add Spain/Mexico in that column since the Mexicans declared their preference. And lets Add New Zealand/Australia/South Korea as well since the Korean president has backed Kim.
  • Latin Americans for Ocampo – Brazil nominated him, the Argentinians wouldn’t dream of supporting one of the others at this point.
  • Three African constituencies for Okonjo-Iweala given the African Union support.
Kim 36.7% Okonjo-Iweala 4.9%
Ocampo 5.7% unknown 52.7%

Continue reading