Saturday, May 19, 2007

And now it is for the World Bank to convince the world that it was more than about politics

Now when after so much procrastination, by all, Wolfowitz has finally resigned it is now the World Bank’s turn to convince the world that all this was indeed an institutional fight over what is right or wrong, and not some political bickering against an unpopular president.

Having had the privilege to act as an Executive Director of the World Bank (2002-2004), I am truly convinced of the high human quality of all its people but, given that out there, for instance in the world of blogs, there exist so many 100% professional haters who don’t care a iota for the World Bank as long as they get their sweet revenge on Bush or Wolfowitz, now the World Bank’s directors, staff and managers must act decisively on the fundamental governance issues, so as to distance themselves as much as possible from these loonies.

One of the first tasks has to be to review the whole concept of external assignments or secondments, since it beats me how it could have reached that point where someone could even have thought of this as a useful instrument for removing to a distant place a conflict of interest of the President, at the expense of the World Bank. Can you even think of a listed corporation trying to argue with the IRS about the deductibility of salaries paid in such a way?

As with this it should be clear that there was a serious problem even before Wolfowitz intervened pushing promotions and salary increases, something that the Executive Board also valiantly recognized, it is obvious that the institutional integrity teams, and all other, have some solid homework to do before they can re-launch the good governance and anti corruption initiative the world needs so much, and that unfortunately seems to have hit an iceberg, while still in port. I am certain that they will succeed.