It is excellent news that developing countries are putting forward such outstanding candidates for the Presidency of the World Bank. I have been lucky to have worked closely with one of the two candidates, Jose Antonio Ocampo. He would be an excellent choice for many reasons.
Jose Antonio provides the rare combination of an experienced and successful policy-maker at the highest level (he was Minister of three portfolios in Colombia, including Finance, but also Agriculture and Planning), an outstanding international civil servant again at the highest level (including as Under Secretary General at the United Nations, as well as well as Head of the UN Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean), and a leading academic researcher in key issues relating to development and macro-economic policy.
One of his main areas of research has been the role of multilateral development banks, such as the World Bank, where he has put forward many interesting and pioneering ideas. These he could now apply to help reduce poverty and increase growth in developing countries. Jose Antonio firmly believes in the value of institutions like the World Bank, and its great importance for supporting development.
Jose Antonio has done research with some of the best academics in both the developed and developing countries. He has recently collaborated most closely with Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, with whom they have produced a series of outstanding policy relevant books. If elected World Bank President, I am sure Jose Antonio Ocampo would use the best research and policy experience on development available worldwide to improve and strengthen the World Bank.
Ocampo therefore would be ideally suited for the role of President of the World Bank, given his achievements and knowledge. The fact that he comes from a developing country, to which he has made such a major contribution, should count in his favour. The time has come to appoint a citizen from a developing economy to head the institution whose task is to promote development.
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