News

    World Bank Searches For New Leadership

    World Bank President Robert Zoellick (file photo)
    World Bank President Robert Zoellick (file photo)

    The process of selecting the next head of the World Bank is taking some unusual twists and turns, but may end up following the tradition of putting an American in charge.

    The bank's mission is to fight global poverty, and many developing nations and experts argue that it is long past time for the first non-American to take the top job.

    Nominations to replace Robert Zoellick, the latest in a long line of Americans to head the World Bank, are not being made public until top bank officials cut the list down to only three names.

    That will probably happen sometime after March 23, when the nomination process closes.

    Under an informal agreement that some critics call outdated and unfair, an American has always run the the bank.  

    And the Obama administrations says it will nominate a strong candidate for the post.

    A top World Bank official from Indonesia, Hekinus Manao, said the institution is using merit-based criteria to fill the job. The World Bank's mission is to cut poverty. Manao said that means the bank's many member nations should nominate candidates with international experience and a commitment to development.

    "I agree to some extent that we could be skeptical, but we could also be optimistic on that," Manao said.

    But U.S. Congresswoman Betty McCollum - co-chair of the World Bank Caucus - said outgoing bank president Robert Zoellick improved the way the institution deals with soaring food prices, disease, conflict, and poverty, making it more likely another American will get the job.

    She said the United States provides the largest share of funds for the bank, and having an American in charge will make it easier to persuade skeptical members of Congress to approve funding for the bank in a time of tight budgets.

    "Could someone else do that? Possibly. Would it be a lot harder for them?  Absolutely," she said.

    The search for a new World Bank chief took an unusual turn when a prominent development expert, Jeffrey Sachs, head of the Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York, put his own name forward as a candidate.  While he is an American, he has won the endorsement of several countries, including Kenya and Malaysia. So far, the Obama administration has not endorsed him or anyone else.

    The financial media have mentioned many possible candidates, including U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, who has experience working with African nations.

    Other possibilities: Indra Nooyi, the Indian-born head of the Pepsi company who is a U.S. citizen, and Nandan Nilekani, who started the large Indian technology firm Infosys.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Karen Hudes
    March 23, 2012 9:37 AM
    The governance problems at the World Bank are now being considered in the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, brought by a World Bank bondholder who also worked in the World Bank's legal department for 20 years. US Congress is requiring better whistleblower protections at the World Bank before the capital increase can be disbursed.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora