Daily Roundup on Kim vs. Ngozi for World Bank President

Could Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala head the World Bank? (ungated) By Lant Pritchett, The Guardian

The candidacy of an African woman, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to lead the World Bank represents a historic opportunity to strengthen the organisation in its mission to attack global poverty. However, the fatalist view is that Okonjo-Iweala cannot win because she is not American. Fortunately, in this case idealism and power politics can align. Okonjo-Iweala can and should win, but it will take effort. Here is a five-stage scenario of how events could play out.

My call for an open, inclusive World Bank (gated) by Jim Yong Kim, Financial Times

My own life and work have led me to believe that inclusive development – investing in human beings – is an economic and moral imperative. I was born in South Korea when it was still recovering from war, with unpaved roads and low levels of literacy. I have seen how integration with the global economy can transform a poor country into one of the most dynamic and prosperous economies in the world. I have seen how investment in infrastructure, schools and health clinics can change lives. And I recognise that economic growth is vital to generate resources for investment in health, education and public goods.

Every country must follow its own path to growth, but our collective mission must be to ensure that a new generation of low and middle-income countries enjoys sustainable economic growth that generates opportunities for all citizens.

U.S.’s World Bank Pick Defends His Credentials (gated) by Sudeep Reddy, Wall Street Journal

Dr. Kim is now on an international “listening tour,” meeting with officials in foreign nations. He has been widely praised by government officials and former colleagues for his experience in launching health programs and his on-the-ground understanding of poverty and development.

But he also has faced criticism from some economists, who say his development experience is too narrow.

New York University development economist William Easterly, a longtime World Bank foe, criticized Dr. Kim in a blog post Sunday for writing in a book 12 years ago that “the quest for growth in GDP and corporate profits has in fact worsened the lives of millions of women and men.”

Dr. Kim’s co-editors say the selected quote missed the overall point of the book, “Dying for Growth,” which is about identifying growth that helps the poor.

In recent days, Mr. Easterly, a staunch defender of free-market economics, has become a leading critic of Dr. Kim. He said in an interview that Dr. Kim’s “anti-globalization point of view” and critique of corporate-led growth put him at odds with the goals of World Bank members.

“All of the members of the World Bank want growth,” he said. “They want global corporations to come invest in their countries. … It’s just kind of odd that he would be now in a position to be a player in that system he’s expressed so much opposition to.”

Defenders of Dr. Kim note that the book, written in the late 1990s, came before heavy international investment in health and education to confront global health problems such as AIDS.

World Bank selection a ‘hypocrisy test’ (gated) by By Xan Rice, Lionel Barber and William Wallis, Financial Times

…[T]here has been a strong push from the emerging world for an open contest to choose a successor to succeed Robert Zoellick, which the main World Bank shareholders say they support. Ms Okonjo-Iweala, backed by African leaders, is one of three candidates vying to take over from Mr Zoellick when his tenure ends in July.

“I would really hold the Bretton Woods shareholders to their word, that they want to change the way business is being done and want a merit-based, open and transparent process for the presidency,” Ms Okonjo-Iweala told the Financial Times.

“I just want to see whether people just say things with their mouth that they don’t mean and what’s the level of hypocrisy,” she said in an interview. “So we want to test that.”