Now things are getting interesting. Lesley Wroughton has the wonderful news: two very highly qualified non-American candidates — Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Jose Antonio Ocampo — are going to be nominated to be president of the World Bank. This really puts the pressure on the White House to knock it out of the park with their nomination, because Ngozi, in particular, is broadly regarded both within and outside the Bank as being pretty much perfect for the job. She’s a whip-smart economist, she’s honest, she’s imaginative, she’s dedicated, she’s expert at navigating the Bank’s labyrinthine bureaucracy and politics, and she’s passionate about the way that the Bank can really make the world a better place.
Bill Easterly has a wonderful riff at Foreign Policy today, entitled “How I Would Not Lead the World Bank”. He urges us all not to pick him as the next World Bank president, and concludes that he wouldn’t even hire himself. And he gives lots of reasons why he’d be rather bad at the job, all of which, in a kind of indirect way, actually help to bolster my idea that Indra Nooyi would be perfect for it.
When it comes to the World Bank presidency, pretty much everybody agrees on two things: (1) it shouldn’t be an American; (2) it will be an American. We can and probably should get hung up on (1), but given political realities, it makes sense to ask: if it’s going to be an American, then who should it be? It shouldn’t be Larry Summers, that’s for sure, and it shouldn’t be Jeff Sachs, either. But there’s another name floating around which is a much better idea than either of those two men: Indra Nooyi.
In 2002, Jeff Sachs took the top job at one of the most ambitious university departments in the world: the Earth Institute at Columbia University. And he’s done that job very well, judging by the main metric that universities care about. When he re-upped his contract last April, the press release gushed about all the multi-million-dollar donations that the Earth Institute has received, including $20 million from the Gates Foundation and $28 million from the Lenfest Foundation to endow climate change research.
Does the World Bank have a beef with bloggers? According to Aidwatch it does:
This morning we learned that the World Bank does not consider bloggers journalists. According to Bank policy, it won’t give press accreditation to bloggers, denying them access to the media briefing center where new reports are released under embargo before they are published for the public.
When I talked to Chrystia Freeland on Monday about World Bank chief Bob Zoellick’s big speech on the Middle East and North Africa today, I said I was looking for two things: concrete promises to do specific things, on the one hand, and a recognition, on the other hand, that the World Bank was working for the struggling citizens of these countries rather than their entrenched elites. The revolutions in the region have shown that politics is inextricably bound up with economics, and that you can’t affect the latter without dealing with the former.