US Opens Campaign For World Bank Presidency, But Nigeria Strangely Mute on Okonjo-Iweala

Nigeria's finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
By Empowered Newswire

Although President Barack Obama waited until the last day to announce the US nomination for the office of World Bank President, as soon as he did the full weight of the US government was thrown into an active campaign for that candidate, Dr Jim Yong Kim, an Asian-American, Empowered Newswire reports.

But no official of the Nigerian government has issued any statement in support of Finance Minister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who will be interviewed for the World Bank presidency alongside Colombian nominee Jose Antonio Ocampo and the American nominee.

Besides Okonjo-Iweala’s appearance in South Africa on Friday to underline her presence in the race just before Obama’s announcement, presidency and federal government officials, including the Foreign Affairs Ministry, have remained silent, sending curious signals about the real attitude of the federal government.
Sources also said that the denial by Paul Nwabuikwu, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s official spokesperson, on Wednesday does not help matters; two days later, the Finance Minister herself was ready to start her campaign.

In Washington DC over the weekend, the White House started releasing different statements of support for Obama’s choice including one from an African head of state, Rwandan Paul Kagame, a noted and respectable voice in the continent.

World Bank sources said Kagame’s immediate support of the US choice already shows a crack in the African camp, and also indicates the lack of an active support from the Nigerian federal government.
Although World Bank sources close to the Board of Directors who will make the final decision said it will be an uphill task to overcome Obama’s choice, there are many within and outside the Bank who see College President Dr. Kim as a notable development activist especially in the medical and health areas, but who lacks the broader experience that the World Bank President should normally possess.

A top World Bank source said yesterday that the “global development community have already started tearing away at President Obama’s choice,” adding that “if you look at it purely on the merit, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has the edge.”

The decision of the bank’s Board of Directors which is made up of 25 members would be by consensus, although the US and European countries already have a majority. The US alone has about 15% voting power on the board, while Nigeria has less than 1%.

Despite the massive support that the US candidate, Jim Yong Kim, is expected to enjoy among the board of directors, the US government is not leaving any stone unturned in their campaign for him.

For instance top US government officials said Kim would soon embark on a global tour to nation’s capital seeking support of governments with the full weight of American diplomats behind him.

Besides, over the weekend, the White House released statements of support from the US Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner, former President Bill Clinton, Kagame of Rwanda and even Prof Jeff Sachs, who had earlier shown active interests in the position.

In the White House release, Rwandan President Paul Kagame said, “I was delighted to learn that Jim Kim has been nominated for this post, as he is a true friend of Africa and well known for his decade of work to support us in developing an efficient health system in Rwanda.”

Kagame, who is widely respected within and outside Africa, added that Kim is “not only a physician and a leader who knows what it takes to address poverty, but also a genuinely good person. President Obama’s nomination of Dr. Kim as President of the World Bank is a welcome one, and should resonate well with the many men and women who are working to transform lives around the world."

But even among the Americans in the development community, some voices have started speaking in support of Okonjo-Iweala.

For instance the Center for Global Development based in the US capital, which is said to have connections with the Nigerian Finance Minister said over the weekend on its website that “the US had a chance to lead.  It abdicated that chance to play domestic politics and put forward a US nominee who is manifestly less qualified to be head of the World Bank than the alternative candidate nominated by African countries: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.”

In the opinion written by  Lant Pritchett, a professor of International Development from Harvard University, the ideal candidate for World Bank president should have some specific experience, all of which Okonjo-Iweala already possesses.

These include:
•    some experience in government and the process of policy-making (as the World Bank’s clients are all governments),
•    some acquaintance with economic policy and policy making—including the tough choices like allocation of resources across uses,
•    some knowledge of finance (it is, after all, a bank that makes income from lending money),
•    perhaps some management experience in a multilateral organization.
•    Exposure to the breadth of development issues.

Pritchett noted that the US nominee, Dr Jim Yong Kim “has no experience in government.  He has been engaged in development as an academic and through NGOs.”

The Harvard professor added that Dr. Kim “has worked exclusively on health issues (rightly, as he is a physician) and never been in position of responsibility about economic policy.  Health was just one of many sectors for which Ngozi had to allocate budgets and promote performance.”Besides, the argument continued, the only thing that the US nominee has ahead of Nigeria’s Finance Minister is the US passport.

Wrote Pritchett:  “Jim holds an American passport.  Ngozi is a Nigerian woman. In this day and age, is that still really all it takes?

Continuing, the Harvard scholar said in the area of wide exposure “there is a massive difference between doing development work and doing charity work to mitigate the consequences of the lack of development.  Ngozi has done development work in many settings and in many positions both in Nigeria and within the World Bank.  Jim deserves praise for having devoted his time, attention and expertise in medicine to improve the health care for people in the developing world—which is certainly one component of development—but his development experience is limited to one sector.”

Below are also the other supporting views put out by the White House for its nominee:
Secretary of the Treasury Timothy F. Geithner

“Jim Yong Kim is exceptionally well qualified to serve as President of the World Bank. He is an innovative leader whose groundbreaking work to fight disease and combat poverty has saved lives around the globe. But Jim will bring more to the role than an impressive record of designing new ways to solve entrenched problems. Development is his lifetime commitment, and it is his passion. And in a world with so much potential to improve living standards, we have a unique opportunity to harness that passion and experience at the helm of the World Bank.”

 Former President Bill Clinton

 "Jim Kim is an inspired and outstanding choice to lead the World Bank based on his years of commitment and leadership to development and particularly health care and AIDS treatment across the world.  Among his many accomplishments, his work with my good friend Paul Farmer to bring hope and health care to nations from Haiti to Peru to Malawi through Partners in Health has been pioneering, exceptional and effective.  He will be the most experienced development expert to ever take the helm of the World Bank and I compliment President Obama for putting that type of proven commitment to global development at the top of his criteria for choosing the World Bank’s next leader."

 Rwandan President Paul Kagame
“I was delighted to learn that Jim Kim has been nominated for this post, as he is a true friend of Africa and well known for his decade of work to support us in developing an efficient health system in Rwanda. He’s not only a physician and a leader who knows what it takes to address poverty, but also a genuinely good person. President Obama’s nomination of Dr. Kim as President of the World Bank is a welcome one, and should resonate well with the many men and women who are working to transform lives around the world."
 
Paul Farmer, MD, PhD

“Jim Yong Kim is an outstanding choice for the presidency of the World Bank. Having had the good fortune to train with Jim at Harvard, and to see him work in settings from inner-city Boston to the slums of Peru, from Haiti to Rwanda to the prisons of Siberia, I know that for three decades Jim has committed himself to breaking the cycle of poverty and disease.  This has been his goal as a physician, a teacher, a policy maker, and a university president; it was ever his goal as a founder and director of Partners In Health, which now operates in more than a dozen countries and informs his teaching and writing. He has worked in rural villages and squatter settlements just as he has worked in the halls of power and privilege. Again and again, we his friends and colleagues have seen Jim imagine a better future, one that harnesses new technologies and older but sound notions of justice and equity, and links this vision to much more than talk and reports and studies. Jim is all about delivery and about delivering on promises often made but too seldom kept. I can think of no one more able to help families, communities, and entire nations break out of poverty, which is the stated goal of the World Bank. As poverty continues to claim lives, and as inequality deepens, the Bank--and other institutions charged with lessening poverty--need bold and experienced thinkers and implementers like Jim Kim. Alas, he's one of a kind.”

 Jeffrey Sachs

“Jim Kim is a superb nominee for WB. I support him 100%. I thank all who supported me and know they'll be very pleased with today's news.” – via Twitter

Comments
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WB

What we need 2 do is 2 just give it 2 who worth d position

I believe τ̣̣ђё us government

I believe τ̣̣ђё us government shouldn't βε̲̣̣ sentimental about this it ȋ̝̊̅§ obvious that τ̣̣ђё nigerian candidate ȋ̝̊̅§ τ̣̣ђё best option to lead τ̣̣ђё world bank.

WB Preseidency

Our sister has indicated her interest by submitting her credentials.
Let us trust the decision of the board that will seat to select the best.
I beleive that the best and whom God has decided, will carry the day.
WB recruitment is not Africa recruitment where merit may be sacrificed on the alter of other unnecessary considerations.

Ngozi is qualified and i am

Ngozi is qualified and i am proud she has received strong endorsements at least to re-inforce the truism that my people always have good quality 'products' for export. Although getting the position is a tough one due to time and circumstances, she should still give the contest her best shot. Then after that, she should commit herself to more radical pro-poor policies. This is what Dr Jim Kim has going for him aside his US Passport. I wish her good fortune.

mortgage rates

I have already started reading some of your mortgage rates related article. i found great post here.I will get back here. I just added your blog to my bookmark sites. thanks.

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THE PDP WAY

NEVER MIND AUNTY NGOO. JONA AND CO WILL DO IT THE PDP WAY, BY CONCENSUS.

World Bank Presidency, Okonjo-Iweala and Nigeria

Whatever the merits or demerits of Okonjo-Iweala, the fact remains that the US has monoploy of the World bank MD'ship, just as Europe has the IMF's' and the rules of the game have not been changed yet simple. Moreover, the lady has denied ANY interest in the jobearlier on, so why all this noise now?
There is nothing ethnic/tribal in the enire issue because that is how the West decides our fate and unfortunately Dr. Ngozi is part and parcel of that "West" remember all the hullaballoo about PMS subsidy without proving there is Any subsidy in the first instance; it is just Corruption Unlimited and the poor Nigerian has to continue paying for that on some weird logic that the poor 'do not own a CAR!

The language of U.S choice is

The language of U.S choice is visibly based on personal relationship of the commentators with the nominee, hence merely sentimental and not rational. U.S may actually win because of their voting right advantage but that wouldn't take out the known fact that Ngozi Okonjo Iwuala has been ascertained more competent. Nigeria on the other hand should learn to stand up in defense of her own as U.S does and never let internal beef and politics militate her due and supposed positions in world politics... Thank you.

SR - Shut up for once !! Support Okonjo-Iweala

SR should exercise some self-restraint and shut up for once! Enough of your verbal diarrhea. Ngozi was yesterday in Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA at the African Union where she received the endorsement of African Finance Ministers, the African Union, Prime Minister Meles, etc. She flew in a Presidential jet - which means our government's fullest support for her. Please people, have the CONFIDENCE to respect and value your own. Ngozi is ours and we should and must support her. It is to our and Africa's glory

Anty okonjo iwealah don't

Anty okonjo iwealah don't worry if obama, clinton & co re openly supporting mr kim 4 d world bank presidency we d black race re seeking u support 4rom baba god no worry.

TRIBALISM IS THE REAL CAUSE OF NIGERIAN PROBLEM

The Holy book says the Prophet is not known or appreciated in his or her community. A Nigerian is about to make history as World Bank Chief and some mentally unsound human beings that are tribal bigots have allowed tribal emotions to becloud sound judgement. Permit me to say that if the nominee's name was kemi or Aisha heeeeeeeeeeei They would have killed themselves on this thread attacking both imaginary and real opposition. Common sense shows why US is throwing their full weight behind their nominee due to home advantage and our so called brothers and sisters in the SW and NE can not see the ample opportunity coming to Africa and Nigeria in terms of project funding. Wow Idiots that are so narrow minded and never tired of envying the Ibo can do spirit should go back to their villages and play local politics with palm wine and bush meat. IDIOTS

A TEST OF GREATNESS

WITH ALL THE CHEST BEATING OF IGBO GREATNESS AND SUPERIORITY OVER ALL, THE LITMUS TEST IS IF THEY CAN GET THEIR KLEPTOMANIC SISTER THE WORLD BANK JOB.AFTER ALLI T IS THEIR KITH AND KIN THAT HOLD POWER AS THEY DID IN THE 60S BEFORE AMBITION AND GREED ALMOST LED TO THEIR EXTERMINATION. ONE WONDERS WHAT ROUND TWO WILL LOOK LIKE? :)

GEJ's PDP government is not used to true democratic campaigns.

GEJ's PDP government is not used to true democratic campaign processes. Since there are no gullible or easily compromised candidates to buy their voter cards or those they can pressurize to 'step down', they are as confused as a deer facing the bright lights of a fast speeding oncoming truck!

Other factors apart from the absence of a united African front for World Bank Presidency, is that Obama has shown some political deftness and sagacity by closely studying the history of World Bank Presidents in the past dominated by White Americans. The smart thing to do is to nominate an Asian-American. Easy support and substantial voting power will come from at least 4 Asian countries that are Economic powerhouses.

Moreover, who wants to be associated with corruption besmeared officials of a dysfunctional state as Nigeria; at a time this close to American Presidential election?

hmmmmm

ur comments are preposterous, unintelligent lacking in reasoning. your naivety is glaring n pitiful. U dont understand economics let alone understand y u dislike an heroine of our country.

hmmmmm

ur comments are preposterous, unintelligent lacking in reasoning. your naivety is glaring n pitiful. U dont understand economics let alone understand y u dislike an heroine of our country.

u r such a moron!

u r such a moron!

Thought she said she was

Thought she said she was coming to help Nigeria out of her economic woes. Has she finished the task that she is eyeing WB presidency? All these people are same, telling us what will give them results at the moment they want it. See the woman that so loved Naija that she left her comfort to come and help. She has not done it o, now she wan jump go WB, where is that your yeye patriotic talk. Leave me make I hear word bo.

Okonjo Nweala to 4get the WB Presidency

I'm proud that a fellow Nigerian like me is a strong contender for the WB presidency but equally sad that she messed herself up by muddling her hard integrity, reputation and expertise with Nigerian politics. She's the worst enemy to herself, not even GEJ can salvage from the damage she caused herself. Jona had little or no power over who became the WB president and the power that be had rejected her for participating in Nigeria corruption.

mrs world bank, charity

mrs world bank, charity begins at home, the world was watching you playing around the big boys in aso rock to the detriment of the poor masses and now you wanna take those evil thoughts and politics of yours to the international scene, nature will never allow you to prevail, you are doomed for life unless you repent. this is not about her qualification whats has she done to improve the life of the ordinary 9ja since she came in other increase the suffering of the masses the more with stupid reforms,,,, if u can't do it right at home then you can't do it outside period

NGOZI IS THE RIGTH CANDIDATE FOR WORLD BANK

Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is qualified and has all it takes to be the head of the World bank. My fellow Nigerians why won't we Support her success at by praying for her? It's high time that we have positive attitude toward one another. Seeing her going to the world bank should be a thing of pride to the image of our country Nigeria. Ngozi go, God is with you. He that lifted you to where you is with you.

Obama would be mad to support Ngozi in this election year

@Osita, U just come here to spins rubbish then blame GEJ for not supporting Ngozi. Are those of u who hail from the same ethnic group with her not the ones killing Ngozi here? Ngozi was the best when she worked with OBJ. But the moment she aligned with GEJ, u started demonizing her. Some of you think U know but u are so empty, u need the grace of God to even remember where Ngozi was when the civil war ended. Ngozi was NOT picked for the job by the president of the FGN. If Ngozi had been nominated by GEJ, the Kenyan Prof, Ali Mazrui would never have written to GEJ through the 9ja embassy in new york as published by the Tribune to help her. If u think an african will be offered the job of heading an imperialist institution like the World bank, then u need to have your rotten head examined. And the only reason u are over flogging this issue, is that u think u can use it to scare some cheap political points against GEJ as its usual with u ppl. Animals

This abanaya man, Osita don come again oooh?

@Osita, U just come here to spins rubbish then blame GEJ for not supporting Ngozi. Are those of u who hail from the same ethnic group with her not the ones killing Ngozi here? Ngozi was the best when she worked with OBJ. But the moment she indicated interest in working with GEJ u started demonizing her. Some of you think U know but u are so empty, u need the grace of God to even remember when the civil war ended. Ngozi was NOT picked for the job by the president of the FGN. If Ngozi had been nominated by GEJ, the Kenyan Prof, Ali Mazrui would never have written to GEJ through the 9ja embassy in new york as published by the Tribune to help her. If u think an african will be offered the job of heading an imperialist institution like the World bank, then u need to have your rotten head examined. And the only reason u are over flogging this issue, is that u think u can use it to scare some cheap political points against GEJ as its usual with u ppl. Animals

@ IT IS ABOUT OBAMA"S ELECTION

I CANNOT HELP BUT RESPOND TO YOUR DISJOINTED THINKING .WHAT THE HELL HAS THAT COVERSATION IN SOUTH KOREA GOT TO DO WTH OKONJA. DUH....!

okonjo go and boil stone

for some nigerians, its having a nigerian heading the world bank that matters most not taking into consideration the challenges and task ahead of being the president of world bank, all they want is the name that a nigerian was there. those of you expecting obama to nominate okonjo simply because she is black, i think you are in the middle of nowhere and you will always remain there because this is not nigeria politics where tribalism is the order of the day or by second tenure then she will perform! this is world politics where every word that comes out of your mouth counts hence it is wrong for any sane govt. or person to entrust such vital position to a 9ja politician (i never said all nigerians) that dwell in bribery,unending promises, forgery, rigging and all forms of evil.

Nigerians are most

Nigerians are most unpatriotic. Whatever quality the American have will be used to the advantage of Americans. We should know that the world will never rate us better than we rate ourselves. Its a surprise some of this self demeaning views are being posted by supposedly 'enlightened' Nigerians from the diaspora! Though anonimous, u can easily identify the ethnic background, the igbos being most fanatical in defence or support of their fellow tribes people. Iweala, as a Nigerian, deserve our support.

the pdp slut aka Ngozi okonjo Iweala

Madam ngozi deserves not to be chosen as d world bank pres. Ngozi, Sanusi and GEJ are the criminals stealing from the masses thru their sham policy known as "Fuel subsidy removal" now shamless political prostitute of all time aka ngozi want to become a worldbank pres. madam Ngozi is not qualify for the job because she is too corrupt and slutty.

Mrs Okonjo Iweala is a strong

Mrs Okonjo Iweala is a strong candidate with a very impressive CV. Remember that she helped Nigeria tremendously in negotiating payment of the nations debt in the Obasanjo government. She was also highly regarded within the World Bank when she worked with them. The reason why she will not get the job is due to international politics. Nigeria is not a global superpower (sorry but thats the truth). We do not have enough votes on the World bank board. Obama would always fight for Americans first and his nomination Mr Kim is likely to win. The Americans and the Europeans have too much voting power to allow a non American to have the post this time round. Until the voting percentages gives more votes to emerging nastions, I am afraid Westerners and particularly Americans would continue to run the World Bank.

IT IS ABOUT OBAMA"S ELECTION

OBAMA WAS HEARD TELLING PRESIDENT MEDVEDEV OF RUSIA IN A PRIVATE MEETING ACCIDENTALLY PICKED BY REPORTERS MICROPHONE 'THIS IS MY LAST ELECTION, AFTER MY ELECTION I HAVE MORE FLEXIBILITY. So it is clear Obama wants to use this to score political points. As for the headline, do you guys really care? i guess you will be very happy and it will be a mission accomplished and a victory for SR and co. if she looses. So why bother to tell us Nigeria is keeping quiet.

Response

Whoever you are, this is the most wrong way to talk. This is not what the North wants to say about our southern brethren. We love them and will keep being family and friends. The real enemy is the bad leadership and that we must come together and fight. All Northern and Southern leaders have failed us.

Response

Whoever you are, this is the most wrong way to talk. This is not what the North wants to say about our southern brethren. We love them and will keep being family and friends. The real enemy is the bad leadership and that we must come together and fight. All Northern and Southern leaders have failed us.

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