OTTAWA – An Ottawa-based advocacy group specializing in international development and foreign policy is urging Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and the federal government to put forward a nominee for World Bank president, with the deadline looming at the end of Friday.
“Now is your opportunity and Canada’s chance to take a lead role in setting a new tone in selecting the leadership of key global institutions,” said the McLeod Group in a recent letter to Flaherty.
The race to lead the World Bank was set in motion after president Robert Zoellick announced on Feb. 15 he was stepping down at the end of his term on June 30.
The bank hasn’t seen a non-American president since its founding in 1944. Traditionally, a consensus between Europe and the U.S. assured a European leader at the International Monetary Fund and an American leader at the World Bank. But outrage from developing and emerging nations among the organization’s 187 member countries has opened up selection process, creating the possibility that streak will soon end.
Now, the World Bank Development Committee says it endorses an “open, merit-based and transparent process.”
“This is the first time that there’s actually been quite a serious and lively international discussion about the possibility, the usefulness, the appropriateness of this,” said Hunter McGill, a Canadian international development policy consultant and member of the McLeod group.
He is also a senior fellow at the School of International Development and Global Studies at the University of Ottawa.
The McLeod Group calls itself an organization of &ldquorofessionals with many years of experience in government, civil society and academia, working across the fields of international development, diplomacy and foreign policy” that argues for Canada to take a more prominent role in global affairs.
Considering the deadline is Friday, McGill says he would be very surprised if Canada put somebody up for candidacy. The White House has not yet announced a nominee.
Colombian finance minister and central bank chief, Jose Antonio Ocampo, announced his candidacy Wednesday.
Ocampo, currently a Columbia University professor, also said that Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was a candidate.
But a spokesman for Okonjo-Iweala said that the former top-level World Bank official “is not seeking it.”