World Bank job should go to Okonjo-Iweala, say ex-staff

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, currently Nigeria's finance minister, is also a former World Bank managing director

Related Stories

A group of former World Bank officials has written a letter backing Nigeria's Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to be its next president.

Traditionally the post is given to the candidate put forward by the US, which this time is Dr Jim Yong Kim.

But in an open letter, 35 former economists and managers said the Bank should choose the next chief on merit.

Another group of economists this week signed a petition backing Colombia's Jose Antonio Ocampo.

This is the first time the World Bank has had to choose between candidates since its creation more than 60 years ago.

The executive board of the Bank has to choose between Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, a former World Bank managing director, Jose Antonio Ocampo, a former finance minister of Colombia, and Jim Yong Kim, a public health expert and president of Dartmouth College in the US.

The Bank is holding interviews next week and plans to select the successor to outgoing president Robert Zoellick by 20 April, when it starts its spring meetings with the IMF.

Tradition

The three-way fight is attracting increasingly passionate comment from candidates' supporters. It has also shone a light on the way the World Bank chooses its head.

Start Quote

[Mrs Okonjo-Iweala] would be the outstanding World Bank president the times call for”

End Quote Open letter from economists

The US, which is the Bank's largest shareholder, has always picked the Bank's president. It, Europe and Japan have 54% of the votes.

Under an informal arrangement, in return, Europe appoints a European as head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is the Bank's sister institution. It is currently run by Frenchwoman Christine Lagarde.

Emerging economies have become increasingly unhappy with this system and are pushing for change.

The leaders of Russia, Brazil, China, India and South Africa recently called for a review of that weighted voting system.

The nations, sometimes referred to as the Brics countries, are working to chose a joint candidate, according to the Brazilian finance minister Guido Mantega.

Speaking after a meeting with the US-nominated Jim Yong Kim, he said Brazil has not yet made up its mind who to promote.

"By late next week Brazil should have a position on the matter and I will talk with the other Brics."

He said Dr Kim had vast experience with the developing world, but he would wait until he had met the other candidates before making up his mind.

Transparency

The letter in support of Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, which is signed by high-ranking managers and economists, including Tunisia's central bank chief, Mustapha Nabli, criticised some aspects of the selection process.

Start Quote

[Jose Antonio Ocampo's] intellectual leadership and commitment to development led to significant improvements in these [UN] institutions ”

End Quote Petition in support of Mr Ocampo

It said that it still involves nomination by governments, based in part on nationality, and without an agreed list of qualifying criteria.

It called for the process to be made in "an open, transparent, merit-based, and competitive manner rather than simply appointed in line with understandings that no longer reflect the world as it is today".

Mrs Okonjo-Iweala herself has called for a televised debate between the three candidates.

Her supporters said: "We believe that Mrs Okonjo-Iweala has outstanding qualifications across the full range of relevant criteria."

Mrs Okonjo-Iweala "would bring the combination of her experience as finance and foreign minister of a large and complex African country with her wide experience of working at all levels of the Bank's hierarchy in different parts of the world, from agricultural economist to managing director".

The World Bank contenders

Kim Yong Jim: Currently president of Dartmouth College. Backed by the US for the job. Born in Seoul, the 52-year-old is a leading figure in global health.

A doctor and former director of the HIV/Aids department at the World Health Organization..

Medical doctorate and PhD in anthropology.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: The Nigerian finance minister, 57, has been endorsed by three African countries - South Africa, Angola and Nigeria.

Previously a managing director at the World Bank.

PhD in regional economics and development.

Jose Antonio Ocampo: Currently professor of professional practice in the International and Public Affairs department of Columbia University. Nominated by Brazil - but not endorsed by - in the name of the Dominican Republic.

Former Colombian finance minister and has held other posts in government, including agriculture.

He has held a number of positions in the United Nations, including as UN Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs.

BA in economics and sociology and a PhD in economics from Yale University.

It says "she would be the outstanding World Bank president the times call for" and pointed out that should would be the institution's first female leader.

They said they cared too much about the institution not to speak out.

Future shape

The petition is support of Mr Ocampo was signed by economists from countries including China, India and Brazil, as well as two former governors of the Chilean central bank.

It pointed to his background working for UN agencies where "his intellectual leadership and commitment to development led to significant improvements in these institutions contribution to development thinking and to development policy design".

He has also been setting out his views of the future shape of the World Bank.

Writing in the Financial Times newspaper, he said the Bank's core mandate must remain that of reducing poverty, addressing growing inequalities that have appeared in recent decades and eliminating gender inequalities.

Mrs Okonjo-Iweala has also been outlining what she thinks should be the Bank's main goal.

She said that it should be creating jobs, in both developing and developed countries, with a particular focus on youth unemployment because of the knock-on social problems it caused.

Dr Kim, who once did a turn as a rap artist at a social event at Dartmouth College, has the support of Canada, Japan and South Korea, where he was born, as well as the US.

He has not yet given an interview about his views on the role at the World Bank, but has described it in a statement as "one of the most critical institutions fighting poverty and providing assistance to developing countries in the world today".

More on This Story

Related Stories

From other news sites

* May require registration or subscription

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Business stories

RSS

Business Live

  1.  
    ECB holds rates 12:46: Breaking News

    And now the European Central Bank has announced that it too is doing nothing to interest rates this month, leaving the main bank rate unchanged at 0.05%. We'll hear more on its bond-buying programme at the press conference at 1330 GMT.

     
  2.  
    12:23: FCA review

    Banks may be forced to compensate some customers after failing to meet standards on selling complex investment products, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has said in a review of the sector. Structured products range from alternatives to cash deposits to complex investments linked to multiple financial assets or indices. Some firms assessed by the watchdog have been asked to determine if customers were harmed.

     
  3.  
    12:08: Interest rates

    Martin Beck, senior economic adviser to the EY Item Club, says the next rate rise could be almost a year away. "While the risks of an earlier rate rise have probably increased lately, we still think it most likely that the Bank will wait until February 2016, by which time inflation will be back above 1% and heading towards the 2% target."

     
  4.  
    Bank holds interest rates 12:00: Breaking News

    That's it: six years of interest rates at 0.5%. The Bank of England, in the least surprising move of all time, has left rates unchanged - and neither has quantitative easing been altered.

     
  5.  
    11:43: Aer Lingus
    Aer Lingus

    The Irish government expects BA owner IAG to sweeten its €1.36bn offer for Aer Lingus to convince it to sell its 25% stake in the airline. Deputy prime minister Joan Burton said the transport minister anticipated "further offers forthcoming from IAG".

     
  6.  
    11:30: Mikhail Fridman

    David Cameron's spokesman says the PM "entirely backs" the seven-day deadline to decide the fate of Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman's newly acquired North Sea assets. He added that the government was ready to act if assurances were not received.

     
  7.  
    11:22: TSB pay
    Paul Pester

    TSB has revealed its chief executive Paul Pester (pictured) received a salary and bonuses totalling just shy of £1.9m last year. As a comparison, Barclays boss Anthony Jenkins was paid £2.3m last year. TSB listed in London last June - although its shares are 10% below the float price at 260.1p.

     
  8.  
    11:06: Car sales up in February

    Staying on a car theme, UK new car sales rose 12% in February, says the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). February car sales totalled 76,958, taking sales in the first two months of 2015 to 8.3% overall. Sales rose by nearly 10% last year, their highest rise in a decade, the SMMT said in January.

     
  9.  
    10:49: Aston Martin at Geneva
    Aston Martin Vulcan

    Do you like Aston Martins? Of course you do. In which case you really ought to take a look at its new car, the Vulcan.

     
  10.  
    10:35: Cold homes
    fireplace

    The health watchdog NICE - the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence - is calling on plumbers and heating engineers, as well as family doctors to sound the alarm if people in England are living in homes that are too cold. The aim is to reduce the higher level of deaths in winter.

     
  11.  
    10:19: Greek unemployment
    A man walks by greek flags for sale

    Greece's jobless rate rose to 26% in December from 25.9% a month earlier as the economy shrank slightly in the last quarter of 2014, statistics agency ELSTAT says. That's the lowest unemployment rate since September 2014 and now quite a bit below the record high set in September 2013, when unemployment hit 27.9%.

     
  12.  
    Mobile World Congress Via Twitter
    BBC

    BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones tweets: From the Ubuntu phone to VR headsets find all our coverage by choosing mobile phones topic in BBC news app @BBCRoryCJ

     
  13.  
    09:42: Zalando expansion
    Zalando

    Watch out Asos... Zalando, Europe's biggest online-only fashion retailer, plans to hire 2,000 new staff as it aims for sales growth of 20% to 25% this year. It is considering setting up local distribution hubs in Britain as well as Italy, Spain and the Nordics to complement its existing warehouses in Germany. Frankfurt-listed Zalando is worth almost €6bn (£4.3bn); Asos is valued at £2.7bn.

     
  14.  
    09:24: House prices

    The current figures may be slightly deceptive however. Halifax says prices rose by 2.6% in the three months to February, compared with the previous three months. Its housing economist, Martin Ellis, says a modest rise in activity reflects increases in real earnings and spending power, recent falls in mortgage rates and changes to stamp duty.

     
  15.  
    09:10: House prices
    Sale and Sold signs

    House price in February were 8.3% higher than the same month a year ago, according to the latest Halifax figures, falling back from 8.5% rise last month and a peak in July of 10.2%. Compared with January prices were 0.3% lower. The average house now costs £192,372, Halifax adds.

     
  16.  
    08:57: Market update

    London's FTSE 100 Index is up 0.14% at 6,929 as traders wait for more details of the European Central Bank's bond-buying programme to be released later today. Aviva shares have jumped this morning after it raised the dividend by 30% on a strong set of annual results.

     
  17.  
    08:44: Carrefour results
    Carrefour

    Carrefour - the world's second-largest retailer after Walmart - plans to spend about €2.5bn (£1.81bn) on revamping stores in 2015 - the final leg of a three-year turnaround plan. The French group could also go ahead with an IPO of its business in Brazil - the supermarket chain's second-largest market - if conditions remain favourable. Operating profits came in at €2.38bn for 2014.

     
  18.  
    Via Twitter Radio 5 live

    Sean Farrington tweets: On Wake Up to Money's podcast today...After 6 yrs of low interest rates, where could you have got good returns? @seanfarrington

     
  19.  
    08:25: Virgin Money
    London marathon

    After listing in November, the challenger bank is set to be admitted to the FTSE 250 later this month. Its shares are up 13% to 327.5p, valuing it at £1.4bn. Virgin Money, which sponsors the London marathon, said today that underlying pre-tax profits rose 127% to £121.2m for 2014.

     
  20.  
    08:23: ECB bond buying BBC Radio 4

    Andrew Wilson, chief executive of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, also tells Today it will take time before we will see the impact of the ECB's bond-buying programme. He expects inflation to remain low for most of this year: "Almost certainly we will see negative rates of inflation this year; we're really talking about 2016 to see the impact of this policy."

     
  21.  
    08:12: Bupa results

    Bupa wants to capture a slice of India's fast-growing health insurance market when rules on foreign investment are relaxed. Stuart Fletcher, chief executive, says it's "still quite a nascent market - there is tonnes of headroom for growth". The private healthcare group posted annual profits up 8% to £638m today.

     
  22.  
    SFO bank probe Robert Peston Economics editor

    Does alleged scamming of £200bn Bank of Eng scheme to rescue banks show that some bankers need psychiatric help?

     
  23.  
    07:53: Best investments Radio 5 live
    Lego

    Wake Up To Money was asking listeners earlier about the best investment they have made. For one listener it was a Lego Millennium Falcon set. Have you made a particularly canny investment? Give us your thoughts at bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or @bbcbusiness.

     
  24.  
    07:42: Aviva profits

    Mr Wilson's comments came as the insurance giant Aviva reported a 6% rise in pre-tax operating profit of £2.17bn, compared with just over £2bn a year earlier. The insurer has has been going to through a strategic overhaul including the sale of its North American business last year. It also raised in annual dividend by 30%.

     
  25.  
    07:31: Aviva profits
    Aviva stadium

    Aviva chief executive Mark Wilson says its annual results show the insurer is making "tangible progress". Aviva - sponsor of Dublin's rugby stadium - started "2015 in a position of strength", but he adds it would be "wrong to assume that our turnaround is nearing completion, as we have further to travel than the distance we have come".

     
  26.  
    07:20: London Stock Exchange Group
    LSE Group

    Another good year for London Stock Exchange Group, with revenue up 32% to £1.28bn and adjusted pre-tax profits up 17% to £445.9m. However, on the pure pre-tax level profits slipped 5% to £284.3m. The company is worth £8.3bn and its shares have risen 18% in the past year.

     
  27.  
    SFO Bank investigationVia Twitter Kamal Ahmed BBC Business editor

    "Unprecedented" much over-used by us hacks, but this actually is @BBCNews SFO launches Bank of England criminal probe

     
  28.  
    07:10: ECB bond buying BBC Radio 4
    The EURO logo

    The European Central Bank reveals more details of its bond-buying programme later today - but don't expect any surprises, Andrew Wilson, chief executive of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, tells Today. He says we've already seen "marked weakening" of the euro, so it will be interesting to see what impact ECB action will have.

     
  29.  
    06:55: Drones
    drone

    The House of Lords has called for a tracking system for all drones and their users. A report by the EU Committee of the House of Lords described drones - or Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, to give them their official title - as an "exciting new technology", but warned that their use poses risks to the general public and other airspace users.

     
  30.  
    06:44: China growth BBC Radio 4

    China's 7% economic growth target for 2015 is about "sending a message" particularly to local governments, which look to Beijing for guidance in setting their own targets. But at the the same time the government is very concerned about the level of debt in the banking sector - something it is trying to address, Duncan Innes-Ker, China analyst with the Economist intelligence Unit, tells Today.

     
  31.  
    06:30: AbbVie

    Big news from the pharma world overnight as US company AbbVie announced a deal to buy leukemia drugmaker Pharmacyclics for $21bn (£13.8bn). It appears to have won the prize from under the nose of Johnson & Johnson, which some reports say was close to a deal.

     
  32.  
    06:20: Brazil economy Radio 5 live
    Copacabana beach

    The Brazilian currency - the real - has hit a 10-year low after the central bank raised interest rates by half a point to a stonking 12.75% overnight. The BBC's Daniel Gallas in Sao Paulo tells Wake Up to Money that the country could tip into recession this year as the government embarks on an austerity drive, raising taxes and cutting spending.

     
  33.  
    06:11: Interest rates Radio 5 live

    It's been six whole years since the Bank of England cut the base rate to 0.5%. That's been good for borrowers, but not so great for savers - of which there are many more after all. Vivan Slattery, an independent financial adviser, tells Wake Up To Money many of her clients have stayed in cash but are now looking at alternatives given that rates do not seem set to increase sharply anytime soon - particularly as many mortgage holders are now on the standard variable rate.

     
  34.  
    06:05: China growth Radio 5 live

    China has announced that its target growth rate for 2015 is 7% - down from 7.5% for last year. The BBC's Ali Moore in Singapore says the new target is not a reflection of panic in Beijing but part of its drive to lower expectations and rebase the economy to focus more on domestic demand. "It's more about quality than quantity," she adds.

     
  35.  
    Welcome to Thursday Chris Johnston Business reporter

    Good morning from me and Matthew West. Another busy day of business news coming up - we'll be here to guide you through it all. Get in touch with your comments at bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or on Twitter at @bbcbusiness.

     

Features

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.