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Developing Nations To Name Two Candidates For World Bank
Published in Amwal Al Ghad on 21 - 03 - 2012

Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and former Colombian Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo are set to be nominated to lead the World Bank. The candidacies of Okonjo-Iweala and Ocampo, who have credentials as both economists and diplomats and the respective backing of Brazil and South Africa, pose a challenge to the United States, whose hold on the top post has never been contested.
But with its majority of votes and the expected support of European countries, the United States is still likely to ensure that another American will succeed Robert Zoellick, who plans to step down when his term expires at the end of June.
Washington has held the presidency since the Bank's founding after World War Two, while a European has always led the International Monetary Fund. It has yet to publicly identify a nominee to succeed Zoellick.
The deadline for submitting nominations is Friday, and the Obama administration has said it will name a candidate by then.
All of the World Bank's 187 members nations have committed to a merit-based process to select Zoellick's successor.
Emerging and developing economies have long talked up their desire to break U.S. and European dominance of the Bretton Woods Institutions, but have until now have failed to build a coalition large enough to change the status quo.
Three sources told Reuters that Ocampo, currently a professor at Columbia University in New York, would be formally nominated by Brazil.
Nominations will be submitted to the 25-member World Bank board, which has said it will decide on the next president within the next month.
Okonjo-Iweala's candidacy had the blessing of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who convinced her to join his cabinet last year to lend more weight to his reform agenda.
The decision to nominate Okonjo-Iweala and Ocampo followed weeks of discussions among emerging and developing countries at the World Bank board including China and India.
South Africa's director at the World Bank board, Renosi Mokate, who also represents Nigeria and other English-speaking African countries, personally flew to Abuja to consult with Okonjo-Iweala about her nomination.
"The impressive credentials of both Ocampo and Okonjo-Iweala puts tremendous pressure on the White House to come up with a candidate of at least equivalent standing," said Domenico Lombardi, a former World Bank board official now at the Brookings Institution in Washington.


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