What does Javanka mean for the World Bank?

Politico has the biggest sensation of the week when it reported on Monday about Ivanka’s prospects for the World Bank. In the topsy turvy world of today’s politics its headline missed the mark. Rather than leading with “Ivanka Trump not under consideration for World Bank chief” the headline should have been:

“Ivanka is overseeing the internal search for a nominee to lead the World Bank”

That is an amazing statement. The search for the World Bank president nominee by the US Administration is being headed by an unpaid aide with no background in economics, finance, or development! If I were in the Treasury I would not not be amused.

Javanka – as the combination of Jared and Ivanka is known – will have their hands full trying to figure out a nominee. Or will they? They could just pick a loyal friend or someone whom the Trumps owe a favour. That wouldn’t be too different than the processes to pick some of the past Presidents. But in today’s climate and with this US Administration that is less likely to a lifelong Republican stalwart and more likely to be someone who has been on the fringes of politics for most of their life. Continue reading

Ocampo hits back

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.” Continue reading

Kim calls for “an open, inclusive World Bank”

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.” Continue reading

Will Obama choose to make history ?

The race for the next President of the World Bank’s Group just got a whole lot more interesting with the formal nomination of former Managing Director and current Finance Minister of Nigeria; Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, and, the less exciting, former Colombian Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo . Ngozi’s nomination will, no doubt, make it very hard for the US Administration to put forward a credible nominee that can match her skill and reputation, even if they nominate a woman. Most of the representatives of the developing countries on the board of the World Bank are expected to line up behind Ngozi. The one and only thing missing from Ngozi’s CV is a US nationality. The Obama administration will certainly Continue reading

With Larry Summers’ World Bank Bid in Trouble, Mexico Insists on Open Process

Early last week the New York Times reported that despite all the previous fine rhetoric about the G20 and consultation and open process, the US Treasury Department had decided to rule by decree and impose its own candidate for the next president of the World Bank, the G20 be damned. U.S. officials informed G20 officials that the US intended to “retain control of the bank,” as the Times put it. According to the Times, the G20 countries grumbled but showed no sign of being willing to fight Treasury. The U.S. candidate would be a “lock,” the Times said, “since Europe will almost certainly support whomever Washington picks.” Continue reading