Ocampo has finally flexed his muscles in the WB President race, arguing in a FT interview that Jim Yong Kim “lacks expertise”. Ocampo says:
“I think in terms of development expertise it is quite clear to everyone that the finance minister of Nigeria and myself stand above the US candidate, who has very narrow expertise in development. He is an excellent physician, nobody denies that, but we’re talking about a development institution.”
In favour of his own candidacy, he says:
“Finance ministers know about how to allocate scarce public resources. During my time as finance minister in Colombia was when we launched a modern domestic bond market for government securities, so I bring that expertise.”
He added that the Bank’s key tasks are the fight against global poverty, its contribution to tackling global “public goods” problems, such as climate change, and should inrease funding to infrastructure.
However, he also leaves himself open to discuss a possible withdrawal of himself or Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to have only one developing country candidate fight the US candidate Kim.
Ultimately he supports a merit based selection, to avoid “a very unfair race”. With interviews rumoured to start in just over a week, let’s hope this forms the foundation of the selection process rather than an inofficial sign off of the usual ‘gentlemen’s agreement’.
If you support a medical doctor/anthropologist to lead the World Bank. His successor could be an eminent Nurse or a Laboratory Scientist. Whoever that may be, she or he will also be supported by compatriots. No wonder…..!
Finance ministers in developing countries did not have to allocate resources to cover banking failures, because they did that during the Latin America and East Asia banking crises in the late 1990s. It is now time for the developed economies to do the structural adjustment programs, some quite painful, that despite CSOs’ complaints and opposition at the time worked so well for the emerging markets on the advice of the IMF way back then. Canada also escaped the worst of the 2008 mess because it had its banks clean up their balance sheets in good time, but suffered because of the US and European downturns.
Oh, and the developed countries were, with the exception of Australia and Canada, not natural resource exporters.
“Finance ministers know about how to allocate scarce public resources… so I bring that expertise.”
Though many of us citizens might quite seriously question the above, I certainly do, a lot, Jose Antonio (and Ngozi too) for good measure could have added: “And, by the way, from the looks of it, we finance ministers from the developing countries, would lately seem to have done that better than many of our colleagues in the developed countries.”… though perhaps that does not help to win the votes.