Sizing up the candidates

Now that we know the three candidates, a lot of ink will be spilled weighing them up against each other. I asked an expert with more than 30 years of experience on the field of development  finance to give an opinion. This expert – who has experience in the public, private and third sector – asked to remain anonymous because over the years the person had worked with several of the candidates (and expects to work with them all in the future). The assessment:

“We have 3 candidates. There seems to be a growing consensus that the winner needs to (a) be from a developing country rather than a US candidate; (b) be anti the Washington consensus agenda (privatisation and liberalisation) and pro-equitable and bottom up development; and (c) have experience of managing a large organisation.

So how do the candidates measure up to these criteria ?

Okonjo-Iweala: Continue reading

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

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

Closing of Nominations for President of World Bank

Ocampo got nominated after all. Here is a press release from the World Bank:

WASHINGTON, March 23, 2012 – The Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank confirmed today that, as announced on February 17, the period for submitting nominations for the position of the next President of the World Bank closed on Friday, March 23. The Board is pleased to announce that the following three nominees will be considered for the position:

Jim Yong Kim, a US national and President of Dartmouth College, New Hampshire

José Antonio Ocampo, a Colombian national and Professor at Columbia University, New York

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a Nigerian national and Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Nigeria Continue reading

Nomination day – 2, 3 or 4 way race?

Nominations close at 6pm Washington time today – that’s 10pm GMT.  Two candidates appear definite.

Columbia University’s Jeff Sachs says he’s in, nominated by a collection of developing countries.  Nigerian Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will face him, nominated by the South African consituency, which includes her home country and Angola.  Slightly unbelievably, the US is yet to make up its mind which of an unimpressive list of second tier candidates it wants to choose.

But what of former Colombian finance minister, Jose Antonio Ocampo? Continue reading

Sachs, Ocampo, and Okonjo-Iweala, 2 out of the 3 need to withdraw

In order to give someone from the developing world a real chance to get the top position at the World Bank, two out of the above mentioned three nominees need to withdraw and throw their weight behind the 3rd candidate. That was the opinion of a group of staffers at the World Bank’s headquarters today gathering for lunch. The rational beyond this is obvious of course. The developing countries must unite behind one candidate if they have a chance to make history and break the strangle hold of Europe and the US on the leadership positions in the World Bank and IMF. The only two international institutions that don’t have open competition for the top jobs.
My question is, who are the two that should withdraw?