Sunday, March 25, 2012

Why I support Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for President of the World Bank

One criteria that I would beg to for to be applied when choosing the next World Bank president is the one of not being prone to be entrapped by groupthink or, much worse, being a promoter of a groupthink. 

While being an Executive Director of the World Bank, 2002-2004, the search for a new Chief Economist was announced, and we directors were told that although it was obviously quite a delicate task, it should not take too long, as the search had to be carried out within “quite a small and exclusive community of development economists”… and I immediately reacted with a “hold it there!... being in the hands of a small and exclusive community of development economists sounds like something really frightening and unhealthy to me. 

One of the reasons why I support Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is precisely because I remember her, in the context of a very risk-adverse World Bank, to be more willing to discuss new ideas in delicate issues than most of her peers. This does of course not mean that any of the other two candidates, whom I do not really know, would not be capable of doing that as well.