For the first time in history, there are multiple candidates for
President of the World Bank, which has the mission of fighting global
poverty by boosting economic development. The candidates face job
interviews beginning April 10th in Washington. The contest pits U.S.
nominee Jim Yong Kim against Colombia’s Jose Antonio Ocampo, and
Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Okonjo-Iweala has long experience at the top levels of the World Bank,
where she deals with national leaders and urges action to fight poverty.
“This is a challenge for the world, almost one billion people are going
to bed hungry,” she said.
Okonjo-Iweala is currently Nigeria’s
finance minister, and also served as foreign minister. Her career began
after an education that included Harvard and MIT.
strongly impressed international economics expert Uri Dadush, a former
World Bank colleague. “Tremendous development experience in many parts
of the world and has the experience of running the finance ministry, and
an economics ministry in one of the more arduous environments of the
world,” Dadush noted. “She has been a determined campaigner against
Making tough decisions
finance minister, Okonjo-Iweala angered many Nigerians by cutting
subsidies in a move that saved the government money but raised the cost
of fuel to consumers. She argued the money would be better spent on
projects that would cut Nigeria’s high unemployment rate.
critics say her long tenure at the bank makes it less likely that she
will bring in new ideas or change the institutional culture. But one
development expert says she would offer a strong blend of financial and
And Nancy Birdsall says Okonjo-Iweala has
also had practice at making tough decisions. “So she has kind of been
through the fire, so she has that experience of how it works at a
political and macro level in developing countries,” she said.
Birdsall says it is encouraging that Okonjo-Iweala is one of three candidates for World Bank President.
Until now, the head of the bank has always been an American, while a European has always led the International Monetary Fund.
year, Washington backed the appointment of former French Finance
Minister Christine Lagarde to head the IMF over an emerging-market
candidate. Europeans may now back the U.S. candidate for the top World
Bank job. The combined voting strength of U.S. and European nations in
each organization make it difficult for a candidate from another country
to end the tradition of Western leadership for these institutions —
which have a major impact in the developing world.
Source: Voice of America
”The truth might be hard to say, painful to bear or even drastic for the truth sayer but still needed to be said”. ALISON.