We know that the USA will expect their candidate to be rubber stamped – but will it be that easy? A lot depends on the G24 – the grouping of developing countries that coordinates positions in the World Bank (and IMF). They will be engaged in an intensive process of coming up with potential alternative candidates, and seeing if they can peel away enough Western states to make life difficult for the US.
What does the math look like? Developing countries – those classified as low-income or middle-income by the Bank – have nine of the 25 World Bank Executive Directors. However, eight Executive Directors from high-income countries represent constituencies with developing countries in them (even if, in voting shares, they are normally a small share of the constituency total). They are Uruguay, Switzerland, Netherlands, Kuwait, Canada, Korea, Italy and Austria.
Can the G24 persuade enough of these EDs to side with them in the face of what will be intense pressure from the US? Continue reading
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.
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
Felix Salmon from Reuters has picked up the Kim-watch theme, calling it a “depressing tactical silence”:
Kim has actually given a handful of on-the-record interviews, which make it very clear that giving on-the-record interviews is not a great way for him to get the job. Continue reading
The great and the good are weighing into the World Bank President debate – in addition to the senior Bank staffers coming out in support of Okonjo-Iweala, over one hundred well respected economists have come out for Ocampo. Here’s what they had to say:
We the undersigned economists, endorse the candidacy of Jose Antonio Ocampo for President of the World Bank. Throughout his career Dr. Ocampo has managed and reformed national ministries of finance, agriculture and planning, and regional and global UN Agencies pertaining to economic development and social affairs. Furthermore, he is one of the most noted development economists of our time. It is our view that based his relative merits, Dr. Ocampo is the most suitable candidate for World Bank president.
Signatories (as at 1130 GMT 5th April- more are being added all the time) Continue reading
Has anyone heard a peep out of Jim Yong Kim? He wants to be President of the world’s most influential development institution, yet – as far as I can tell – he hasn’t given a single interview to any press outlet anywhere.
Meanwhile his two more experienced rivals are already all over the airwaves, often attacking Kim. Ocampo was on Bloomberg and had this to say to AFP:
“He is a very competent doctor, but if we speak strictly about development experience, the Nigerian minister and I amply surpass him.”
Iweala gave the Washington Postperhaps the most barbed quote of the week on Kim Continue reading
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