As US nominee Jim Yong Kim sets off on a global “listening tour” to promote his candidacy, he has declared his priorities for the Bank in an FT op-Ed. While thin on actual policy content, Kim gives strong support for “an open, inclusive World Bank” which “must give developing nations a greater voice.” He also attempts to calm the ‘anti-growth’ storm, by confirming that he recognises “that economic growth is vital to generate resources for investment in health, education and public goods.”
While the BRICS have so far not made any signs of jointly backing a candidate they have called for “an open, merit-based process” and that the next president should transform the Bank to “a multilateral institution that truly reflects the vision of all its members, including the governance structure that reflects current economic and political reality,” They also called on the Bank and Fund to urgently review their quota systems to help safeguard the interests of poorer nations.
Meanwhile, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has gained the official support “in the strongest possible terms”, of the African Union Commission “on behalf of all African countries”. In their opinion Okonjo-Iweala “possesses undisputed credentials in terms of her technical and managerial expertise, as well as a strong track record as a development professional, both inside and outside the World Bank.” “She has earned tremendous respect and credibility working with major shareholders of the World Bank in different capacities, who acknowledge her deep passion for development and strong drive for results.” “She epitomizes the kind of visionary leadership, courage and innovation needed for the Bank today.”
Jose Antonio Ocampo, while gaining massive support in the WB president poll on this site, continues to have a low profile in the media. He lacks the support of his own government since they already hold the Inter-American Development Bank presidency, but has stated that he expects other Latin American and Caribbean countries to back his bid.
Kim writes in his op-Ed that “A more responsive World Bank must meet the challenges of the moment but also foresee those of the future.” With a new IPCC report painting an even starker picture of the challenges of climate change, coupled with natural resources degradation, it is surprising that little mention has been made of the candidates track record on managing environmental challenges. As one of the contributors to the debates around the forthcoming Rio+20 “Earth Summit”, perhaps this is where Ocampo could make his mark?