Monday, April 9, 2012

Challenger For World Bank Presidency Demands Merit-Based Nomination

With the resignation of World Bank president Robert Zoellick coming up in June, the United States nominated Dartmouth College president Jim Yong Kim to take the top spot at the international financial management agency. But from elsewhere in the world, credible challenges are contesting U.S. supremacy as leader of the World Bank.

Angola, Nigeria and South Africa endorsed the nomination of Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a respected economist and diplomat. Largely responsible for creating emerging economies across Africa with sterling portfolio management and partnering with private investment banking, Okonio-Iweala's supporters say her presidency would support transparency and add a merit-based component to the process.

Brazil has thrown their support behind former Colombian finance minister Jose Antonio Ocampo. While Ocampo's credentials are strong, his country is focusing on nominating a member to the International Labor Organization.

Jim Yong Kim's presidency is thought to be a foregone conclusion, as an American has held the reins of the World Bank since it was established at the end of World War Two.

While there has typically been agreement that America and western powers in Europe vote for an American for the World Bank and a European for the IMF, many financial professionals in public and private sectors have called for a more merit-based system. According to Reuters, Fredrik Erixon, director of the Brussels-based European Center for International Political Economy called for the candidates to be questioned as to what they would do to improve the World Bank throughout their term.

"They should in particular be asked how they want to reform the World Bank to revitalize its role for economic development,” Erixon said.

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