Home / Africa/International / World Bank’s success or failure depends on it’s accomplishments in Africa – Okonjo-Iweala

World Bank’s success or failure depends on it’s accomplishments in Africa – Okonjo-Iweala

Share this with more people!

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala believes that the World Bank’s achievements in Africa could determine, the Bretton Woods Institutions’ success or failure.

“I believe that the World Bank continues to be a very important development institution for the world and particularly for our continent. I strongly believe that whether the World Bank succeeds or fails will depend on its accomplishments in Africa,” she said.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, Africa’s candidate for the position of President of the World Bank said these at a press conference in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa Tuesday March 26, 2012, during the 5th Joint Annual Meetings of the African Union (AU) Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.

Making her case for the position, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala said “That’s why it is also important that as someone of African origin, who knows other regions of the world, and has wide experience in working in almost every region of the world – the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, East Asia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, and Africa both in policy making and development programmes and projects, I understand intimately, whether it is in the emerging  market countries like the BRICS, other developing countries and poor countries I understand what the challenges are.”

According to Dr. Okonjo-Iweala from the point of view of a developing country policy maker managing the Nigerian economy “Our countries are facing singular opportunities and singular problems,” she said.

She indicated that the single most important problem facing the world today is job creation and improvement in the quality of growth. Youth unemployment in particular, she said, is a challenge in African countries.

“That means we have a youth bulge, otherwise we must look out for other ‘Springs’, though not ‘Arab Springs’,” she said.

She said the World Bank together with the Multilateral Investment Guaranty Agency (MIGA) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) are well placed to put instruments to work to help countries, support and create the environment for the private sector to create jobs.

“We want an institution that looks at investment and trade complemented by aid. This is what most countries are looking for now,” she said.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has worked with the World Bank for 25 years both at junior and senior positions.

The Minister of Finance for South Africa, Pravin Gordhan, who is leading the campaign for her appointment described her as someone with a tremendous CV. “A rare  one, it is a phenomenal combination of a person who is a professional economist, with a PhD from the US itself, a person whose roots are within a large developing country in Africa – Nigeria, who understands what the challenges of development are, on this continent and other developing countries.”

“More importantly,” he said, “she understands the operations of the Bank and understands the kind of transition and transformation the World Bank itself needs to go through for the next decade or so.”

Mr. Gordhan said he hopes the process of appointment will be done in an open, competitive, transparent and merit based way.

“We’ve already been through one process, the IMF process which didn’t quite go that way, that didn’t quiet meet the intention of the G20 leaders which said that the tradition by which these two institutions are bound, that Europe will constantly head the IMF and the US will constantly head the World Bank that unfortunately didn’t materialise as a deviation of this tradition.

We have been made aware that Robert Zoellick will not be renewing or not attempting to renew his position at the World Bank. The Board of the Bank then started a process, which is open, which has some element of transparency. And it remains to be seen whether it will truly remain merit based and open to all capable candidates from across the globe,” he said.

Gordhan, said “Our view is that as we go forward, the commitment made by G20 leaders in 2009 will now be put to the test, to see whether this is a truly open process, whether it is truly open to all qualified eminent candidates such as my colleague Ngozi.”

He called for the process to be managed in a way in which greater credibility is lent to the expectation that the G20 leaders articulated in the Pittsburg Communiqué as it was called then.

“And there’s no doubt that she will be an ideal candidate to lead the Bank through very important economic, jobs related and development related challenges that a large part of the globe still faces,” he said.

He admitted that as part of the democratic process there are other candidates that have been nominated, Colombian national José Antonio Ocampo and the Korean-American Jim Yong Kim.

The World Bank said it expects the new President to be elected  “by consensus” by the 2012 Spring Meetings with the International Monetary Fund that begin on April 20.

If elected Okonjo-Iweala will be the first African to head the Bretton-Woods Institution which has always been led by an American.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi, back from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Share this with more people!

Check Also

Ghana, a Bible thumping Finance Minister and a junk economy

Ghana is a classic case of a country – has a great history, ancestry and …