Ocampo takes shots at the US and the staff of the World Bank

In today’s event at CGD, Jose Antonio Ocampo said “The current president was too shy in asking for a capital increase,”… “The United States “says it cannot get the money through Congress, but it does not want to lose shares in the (Bank’s) capital. So that means we’re stuck with a World Bank which is constrained by its major shareholder.” Adding “At one point, sooner rather than later, the Bank will have to negotiate a capital increase.”
He also went on to speak about what he will change in the Bank’s culture; “The first one is the Bank has to be a client-based organization; the first thing that staff have to learn is that working at the country level is actually an improvement in its role for the Bank, rather than working in Washington,” ..”I think sincerely the problem of (people) working for the World Bank is the sense of superiority. The Bank staff has to be willing to recognize that they’re equals.”

5 thoughts on “Ocampo takes shots at the US and the staff of the World Bank

  1. Isn’t the World Bank a development bank that focuses on research, academia and economics? Isn’t the bank full of PHDs? Doesn’t the World Bank produce plenty of academic documents and research? What am I not getting here?

  2. Ocampo comes across a bit arrogant and too academic. Thats also the impression he left on the board and the EU last week. Right or wrong, he speaks more from academic perspective than real life experience.

  3. Don’t confuse honesty with arrogance. Ocampo was brilliant this afternoon. He is the first candidate with the gutts to look at well-known and widely talked about issues at the WB, and to discuss them openly, transparently and even candidly. That is the transformation that really needs to come to the WB so it enters the XXI century. That is what the emerging economies need from the World Bank. I respected very much his calling a spade by its name and explaining that the US cannot bake the cake and eat it too. If the American Congress is not willing to increase bank financing, then the US should not have a majority stake, especially when other governments are willing to finance it. Or in your world, do you pay for something but get nothing in return? That is how business works and the Bank is… well a Bank.

    What I do find arrogant is that someone finds his presentation innadequate because it stepped on some toes. Changing the satus quo is never easy and doesn’t come without bruises. But, that is the beginning of change, one that the Bank desperately needs. If you don’t believe me, ask government officials in emerging markets what they think about dealing with the WB. Most of them will answer: “it is a necessary evil…” With hs honesty and his views, Ocampo is giving the emerging world and the World Bank a new opportunity so we can all get it right.

  4. Arrogant performance this afternoon, distinguished by his dullness and pedantry in front of a smallish audience, showed he is more interested in losing so he can claim the process is not merit-based.

    What does he say in the unlikely case he is chosen?

  5. Excelent intervention from Jose Antonio Ocampo . He is proving once more to be the most capable candidate to preside the World Bank organization.

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