Sunday, May 27, 2007

Two brief comments on naming a new World Bank President

1. I would love for the world at large to be able to put forward their proposals for a new president at the World Bank but, having been an Executive Directors and having seen how so few of these EDs are truly allowed to speak out their own voice, I would also like to see that once they have received the list of candidates, they are isolated from any further interference from their capitals, and forced to reach a consensus between themselves as Executive Directors individually responsible for the Bank and the World.

2. If we are going to waste time just to haggle on who is going to be the next President of the World Bank, I would much rather have just about anyone named so that the Bank could go back and focus at the real issues. While an Executive Director of the World Bank (2002-2004), I calculated the cost of each of the EDs jointly debating an issue to cost around 80.000 US dollars per hour. Therefore I raised my voice quite noisily when the Board had to spend many hours discussing a salary increase of US$ 40.000 for our then president, Jim Wolfensohn, just so that he would earn as much as his counterpart at the IMF. Frankly, I do not know what I would have done with a Wolfowitz incident and now the follow up; I might have just gone berserk