DEVELOPING WORLD PUSHES FOR CHANGE IN WORLD BANK LEADERSHIP
March 28, 2012 Leave a comment
For the first time in almost 70 years, the World Bank could have a president who is not an American citizen.
A Nigerian and a Colombian have now joined the race as candidates to replace Robert Zoellick after he steps down in June.
Al Jazeera’s John Terrett reports from Washington.
INTERVIEW WITH FORMER WORLD BANK VICE PRESIDENT IAN GOLDIN
As US president Barack Obama talks about domestic solutions for high gas prices, in reality, this may be an issue of global energy depletion. This brings us to the issue of globalization, since we live in a global, interconnected society. Globalization has lead to much greater efficiency and output, and has built wealth overall, but it has also created more instability. One glaring example is financial markets. Capital now moves more freely from one country to another than it used to, and hot money flows have proven extraordinarily disruptive. We saw this in the case of the Asian Tigers and it has been a consistent bane for emerging market economies destabilized by capital flight. As we try to figure out how to deal with problems like this, while avoiding a financial crisis redux, we’ll look at the underbelly of globalization for some answers and speak with former vice president of the World Bank, Ian Goldin.
And developing nations will reportedly nominate two candidates to the world bank while the white house has until 6PM tomorrow to get it’s nomination in…but will go on to be the President? A lot of people say it’s no mystery, it will be an American. We’ll talk about why and at what cost to the world bank’s legitimacy as a global institution with the former vice president Ian Goldin.
Meanwhile, you may have your I-phone, maybe your I-pad, what about an account at your I-bank? We’ll about what apple is doing to join the battle against the too big to fail banks.
OBAMA STRUGGLES TO KEEP AMERICA’S GRIP ON WORLD BANK
Traditional award of top job to a White House favourite looks increasingly difficult as developing world candidates emerge
Heather Stewart | guardian.co.uk
Barack Obama is scrambling to find a heavyweight US candidate to stand for the job of president of the World Bank, with the deadline for nominations looming.
Two credible developing country candidates – Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Nigerian finance minister, and José Antonio Ocampo, the Colombian former finance minister and development economist – have already joined the race, together with the American economist Jeffrey Sachs, who has the backing of several developing countries.
The calibre of the field means the US won’t be able to stitch up the job, as is traditional, by handing it to a faceless White House bureaucrat or a favoured presidential lieutenant.
Instead, Obama has been casting around for a figure with the requisite gravitas to lead the international field. Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has long been touted, but has denied that she wants the job, and is thought to want another shot at the presidency.
Larry Summers, the former treasury secretary and once an adviser to Bill Clinton, has the backing of his successor, Tim Geithner – but he is highly controversial with many in Europe and the developing world, because he is seen as an outspoken advocate of the deregulation that led to the financial crisis. Susan Rice, America’s ambassador to the UN, has clashed with China and Russia over the crisis in Syria. Rumours of other wildcard candidates, including PepsiCo boss Indra Nooyi – whose Indian origins might give her an edge with the Bric countries – and even Bill Gates, have been swirling in Washington.
Ever since the Bretton Woods institutions were founded, in the aftermath of the second world war, the Bank has been run by an American, and the International Monetary Fund by a European, under a gentleman’s agreement. But as the emerging economies, including China, India and Russia, have won greater influence at the Washington-based lender there has been a growing chorus calling for a candidate from outside the west.
When Dominique Strauss-Kahn stepped down ignominiously from the top job at the IMF last year the formidable Christine Lagarde had been swiftly nominated and backed by a series of European countries, including the UK, before any credible rival could get out of the blocks.
But with World Bank boss Robert Zoellick departing in a more conventional fashion this summer, after serving a notice period, there was no excuse for anything but the open nomination process the Bank has long promised. A Department for International Development spokesperson said: “Britain supports an open and transparent selection process. All candidates for the job must be considered on their merits.”
The Bank is not expected to make a formal announcement about who has been nominated, but will publish a three-strong shortlist next week, and the candidates will then be interviewed by its board.
Most seasoned World Bank-watchers expect the ultimate outcome to be that an American gets the job: the US still has a dominant voice at the Washington-based institution, and Obama won’t want to look weak by ceding a major source of international influence in an election year.
But in the wake of the global financial crisis, emerging world powers such as Brazil and China have become increasingly critical of the assumption of the US and Europe that they know best.
If Obama fields a weak or a controversial candidate against the seasoned operator and World Bank veteran Okonjo-Iweala, there is sure to be a noisy backlash. As Liz Stuart, senior policy adviser for Oxfam, says: “I think we can assume there are lots of talented people who work in development who aren’t American.”
Who’s in the running?
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Nigerian finance minister for the second time, and the developing country candidate to beat. As a former World Bank managing director, she knows the institution inside out. She has also been on the front line of tackling poverty and corruption at home, and fought for debt relief from the West.
José Antonio Ocampo: a former Colombian finance minister who studied and is based at Columbia University, in the US. He is a heavyweight academic economist who has had first-hand experience in government in a developing country, and held a senior UN post. He has won Brazil’s backing.
Hillary Clinton: still widely rumoured to be the most likely US candidate. But she has repeatedly said she doesn’t want the job and her hardline attitude to human rights abuses in her current job as secretary of state is said to have made the Chinese sceptical about her candidacy.
Jeffrey Sachs: US economist and author, now at Columbia University, says he has the support of several developing countries, many of which he has advised over the years. He too is controversial because of questions over his role in Russia’s “shock therapy” economic reforms in the 1980s. He’s also seen as too liberal to win the backing of the White House.
Susan Rice: US ambassador to the United Nations. She is used to charming her way through international diplomatic circles – a key part of the job of a World Bank boss – but she may not be well-known enough to trump Iweala and allow America to hold onto its supremacy at the Bank.
JIM KIM: OBAMA MAKES SURPRISE PICK FOR WORLD BANK
By JULIE PACE
WASHINGTON (AP) — Passing over better-known candidates, President Barack Obama on Friday nominated global health expert and Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim to lead the World Bank. It was a surprise pick aimed in part at fending off challenges from developing nations eager to end the U.S. monopoly of the top job at the international institution.
Obama’s appointment all but guarantees that Kim, a 52-year-old physician and pioneer in treating HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in the developing world, will take over at the helm of the World Bank. Though he was born in South Korea, he will extend a tradition of American presidents dating back to the organization’s founding in 1944.
The 187-nation World Bank focuses on fighting poverty and promoting development. It is a leading source of development loans for countries seeking financing to build dams, roads and other infrastructure projects.
Several developing nations had sought to break the U.S. leadership streak when current Bank President Robert Zoellick announced he would step down at the end of June. That put Obama in the delicate position of balancing his desire to see emerging economies step forward on the world stage and the pressures of an election year. His support for a non-U.S. candidate could have provoked fresh criticism from Republicans, who frequently question whether Obama believes in the notion of “American exceptionalism.”
As Obama announced Kim’s nomination from the White House Rose Garden on Friday morning, he tried to make the case that an American with a unique background and broad international experience would be a committed representative of the developing world’s interests.
“Jim has truly global experience. He has worked from Asia to Africa to the Americas, from capitals to small villages,” Obama said. “His personal story exemplifies the great diversity of our country.”
In addition to Kim, Obama was joined in the Rose Garden by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, both of whom could have had the job but were not interested. Senior administration officials said it was Clinton who first recommended Kim to Obama.
Obama, aware of the concerns of the developing world, expanded his search beyond the usual slate of high-ranking government officials and prominent business leaders. Officials described internal White House strategy only on condition of anonymity.
“It’s time for a development professional to lead the world’s largest development agency,” Obama said as he announced the nomination.
The World Bank’s 25-member executive board will officially select a new president next month. But given that the U.S, as the world’s largest economy, has the largest percentage of the votes, Kim is expected to prevail.
He was widely praised by officials in the U.S. and overseas. Former President Bill Clinton, who advocated for Kim during Obama’s selection process, said in a statement that the nominee was “an inspired and outstanding choice.” Rwandan President Paul Kagame said Kim was “a true friend of Africa” and “a leader who knows what it takes to address poverty.”
Still, Kim’s nomination was expected to face some resistance from those who believe it’s time for the developing world to take the reins at an organization focused on addressing its needs.
Officials at Oxfam, the international aid agency, urged the World Bank to welcome a genuine debate about its leadership and not just rubber-stamp the U.S. selection.
“It’s time for a symbolic break from the past and for a new leader to steer the Bank into the 21st century,” Oxfam spokeswoman Elizabeth Stuart said.
The argument from the developing world was one Obama himself often has made in his travels as president to places like China, India and Brazil. Rising powers, he has said, must play a larger role on the world stage.
Developing countries put forward two candidates, including Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s finance minister. Jose Antonio Ocampo, a Columbia University professor who had been finance minister for Colombia, was also nominated.
Jeffrey Sachs, a prominent development economist at Columbia University in New York, personally campaigned for the World Bank post and had been expected to be nominated by Italy’s representative on the World Bank board. But Sachs announced on his Twitter account Friday that he was withdrawing in favor of Kim.
“Jim Kim is a superb nominee for the WB. I support him 100 percent. I thank all who supported me and know they’ll be very pleased with today’s news,” Sachs said in a message.
Kim is expected to travel around the world on a listening tour to rally support for his nomination ahead of the World Bank vote, Obama administration officials said.
Obama picked Kim over several more well-known candidates, including Susan Rice, current U.S. ambassador to the United Nations; Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Lawrence Summers, former director of the president’s National Economic Council.
Others mentioned for the World Bank post included Indra Nooyi, the head of PepsiCo, and Laura D’Andrea Tyson, who served in top economic jobs in the Clinton administration.
Kim was born in Seoul, moved to the U.S. at age 5 and grew up in Muscatine, Iowa, where he was a high school quarterback in football and point guard in basketball. He is a graduate of Brown University and Harvard University and co-founder of the global health organization Partners in Health. He served as director of the World Health Organization’s department of HIV/AIDS.
He began his tenure as president of Dartmouth in 2009, the first Asian-American to lead an Ivy League institution.
Associated Press writers Martin Crutsinger and Christopher Rugaber contributed to this report.
OBAMA TAPS NEW WORLD BANK HEAD
By Josh Boak
President Barack Obama nominated Dartmouth College president Jim Yong Kim as the new president of the World Bank.
Citing Kim’s record working on international health in the Rose Garden Friday, Obama said, “It’s time for a development professional to lead the world’s largest development agency.”
Kim, a trained medical doctor who has led the Ivy League college since 2009, will replace Robert Zoellick, whose term ends June 30.
“Despite its name, the World Bank is more than just a bank—it’s one of the most powerful tools we have to reduce poverty and raise standards of living in some of the poorest countries in the planet,” Obama said. “Jim has truly global experience. He’s worked from Asia to Africa to the Americas, from capitals to small villages.”
Though the board of the World Bank will officially decide on the next president over the next three weeks, the president’s nomination effectively guarantees Kim the post as the new head of the prestigious 187-nation lending organization focused on economic development.
Kim was not one of the names that had been often discussed publicly for the post. Names floated included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and economist Larry Summers, who was treasury secretary under Bill Clinton and later director of Obama’s National Economic Council.
Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs had actively campaigned for the position, racking up endorsements from 27 Democratic congressmen and government officials and government leaders in countries like Kenya, Chile and Bhutan.
“Dr Jim Kim is a superb nominee for the World Bank presidency,” Sachs said in a statement. “I support his nomination 100 percent. I congratulate the administration for nominating a world-class development leader for this position.”
Kim, 52, has been involved in development work as the former executive director of the nonprofit Partners In Health, which provides medical services in countries including Haiti, Peru, Russia and Rwanda. He also led the World Health Organization’s HIV/AIDS department from 2004 to 2006, in addition to formerly being a professor at Harvard Medical School and winning a MacArthur Foundation genius grant in 2003.
Kim’s three years at Dartmouth has been marked by some controversy, most recently over reports that fraternities have been savagely hazing their pledges. The Boston Globe noted earlier this month that “faculty are in revolt, students are pressing for change” and many on the New Hampshire campus “accuse Kim of abdicating leadership on the issue.”
Not everyone cheered the surprise nomination of a physician instead of an economist with strong government connections.
“This was really a surprise and not a good one,”said Anders Aslund, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “One question is whether such an apparently substandard candidate can really be appointed. This reminds of when George W. Bush tried to appoint Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.”
During his term, Zoellick provided — with the goal of reducing poverty — roughly $247 billion in aid for infrastructure, trade, agriculture, health, education and other projects.
The new World Bank president will have to consider moving the bank more forcefully into conflict zones like Iraq and Afghanistan, dealing with basic issues of good governance, said Daniel Runde, director of the project on prosperity and development at the Center for Strategic & International Studies.
“Governance and anti-corruption, while Zoellick has focused on these, could be further elevated,” Runde said.
Traditionally, an American has served as World Bank president since its creation after World War II, while a European has run the International Monetary Fund. The United States is the largest shareholder at both Washington-based institutions.
But emerging countries are challenging the U.S. dominance by nominating their own candidates.
Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and former Colombian Finance Minister José Antonio Ocampo are both expected to be put forth for World Bank president, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
The World Bank’s 25-person board, which represents its nation shareholders, narrows the nominees to a short list of up to three.The candidates are then interviewed, and a new president is slated to be chosen at its spring meetings in April.
WHO IS JIM YONG KIM?
President Barack Obama’s decision to pick Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim took many by surprise, considering that Kim isn’t a regular in Washington circles.
“Dr. Kim’s name was closely held and not among those widely bandied about since Mr. Zoellick announced his plans to move on,” the New York Times wrote in its story on nomination.
”At this moment, across Washington, hundreds of surprised reporters and government aides are Googling ‘Jim Yong Kim’ to find out who he is,” joked Washingtonian magazine editor Garrett Graff on Twitter.
Kim’s been president at Dartmouth since 2009 and is a former director at the World Health Organization and the co-founder of Partners in Health, which provides health services to the poor. But career accomplishments aside, what about his lighter side? In a “Greenroom” online-only video interview he did during an appearance on “The Charlie Rose Show” in March, Kim opened up about less weighty matters.
His first job: “[A]s a waiter in a restaurant in my little town in Muscatine, Iowa.”
Favorite book: “The Miracle of Mindfulness” by Thich Nhat Han. “It was about a practice in which one can be deeply passionate and compassionate toward those who are suffering. This is a monk who was very active in the struggles against the Vietnam War when he was in Vietnam.”
Childhood dream: To be quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings or the Chicago Bears.
Best career advice: “If somebody asks you to look at a really important job, even if you don’t think you’re right for the job and even if you’re not sure that they’ll offer you the job, I was told by my mentor that you should always go talk to those people. And the reason is because, even if they don’t offer you the job, even if you don’t take the job, you’ll learn something, but more importantly, you’ll help them understand what they really want. That’s how I got the job at Dartmouth College. I had very little sense that they would ever offer me the job, and I went there really as a service to the school. I was hoping that I could help them think more clearly about who they really wanted, and ultimately they choose me.”
Career high: “The high point was when we started receiving support, first from George Soros who gave us our first grants [to battle tuberculosis] and then we received a huge grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.” Kim’s tenure at Dartmouth appears to have been viewed positively by the student body: The college’s student newspaper, The Dartmouth, reported in August 2011 that “Out of 230 students interviewed by The Dartmouth, 118, or 51 percent, said they approved of College President Jim Yong Kim’s performance in his first two years as president.” 14 percent of those interviewed disapproved.
During Kim’s tenure, The Dartmouth brought to light some interesting connections between Kim and Obama:
When asked his opinion of President Barack Obama’s health care legislation, Kim said he agreed with some aspects of the program, but that he did not think that it places nearly enough emphasis on health care delivery.
He encouraged the participants of the $300 House Project to remain positive throughout their endeavor, despite negative comments or claims of impossibility, reminding them that, in the words of President Barack Obama, “there’s no such thing as false hope.”
Oh, and since Dartmouth was the inspiration, in part, for “Animal House,” Kim weighed in on that, too.
“Kim said that he read Chris Miller’s book ‘The Real Animal House,’” The Dartmouth reported in 2009, “and has even learned the rules of pong, although he has yet to play.”
“People will drink, but drinking in moderation and in a way that allows you to continue to create good judgments is possible,” said Kim. “I’m a public health physician, so I’ve got to tell you what the data says.”