Banking on Zoellick

Title of an article written by Kenneth Rogoff on the nomination of Zoellick at the helm of the World Bank. In the section of ” Comments is free” published by the Guardian, Rogoff spelled out the strengths of the “good Bob” from the weaknesses of “maybe Bob”.

1.Zoellick is a proven internationalist in an American administration where internationalists have sometimes seemed like an endangered species

2. he is a firm believer in the power of markets and free trade, which have clearly done far more to alleviate poverty over the past half-century than any aid program

3. he seems to have been a consistent behind-the-scenes supporter of the Bank

However these are the not-so flattering points which he has expanded with his arguments in the article:

1. his appointment extends the embarrassingly outmoded practice of always installing an American in the job

2. The claim that the World Bank needs an American president to ensure that the US keeps donating money is ridiculous

3. Zoellick’s background as a lawyer hardly makes him perfect for the job, either. The World Bank presidency is not about negotiating treaties, as Zoellick did when he was US trade representative.

Rogoff mentions also what is wrong with the Bank itself and what opportunities the new President should take to avoid the failures of his predecessors.

Now if only Rogoff has added what are the threats facing the institution (China in Africa, South American countries staying away from the IFIs etc) 🙂 but I am asking too much because in the coming months we will read a lot about these IFIs and their operations.