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Okonjo-Iweala express confidence over World Bank Presidency Position

Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-IwealaFinance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is confident of clinching the World Bank presidency – if the process is free, fair and transparent. She was endorsed for the job yesterday by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and South African President Joacob Zuma.
The former World Bank Managing Director and Coordinating Minister for the Economy told reporters in Abuja last night that she has secured the backing of the African Union (AU) chair Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and the ministers of Finance of African countries.
Mrs Okonjo-Iweala who spoke while flagging off her campaign, called for an open, fair and transparent process to select the next World Bank president.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala said she was in Abidjan yesterday for an extra-ordinary session of ECOWAS leaders, adding that Presidents Alasaan Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire and Jacob Zuma of South Africa, alongside ECOWAS leaders, endorsed her candidacy.
According to her, the commitment of World Bank’s shareholders to creating a level playing field has brightened her chances of clinching the job.
She, however, noted the emerging economies and the less developed economies “will see what happens from there, if the process is not open, fair and transparent.” Dr. Okonjo-Iweala welcomed the “competition from the United States and Colombia, but demanded a fair and honest competition.”
There are many emerging market economies in support of her candidacy, she said, but would not mention them.
“Leading her campaign is former Minister of Finance Dr. Mansur Muktar, who also holds a very senior management position in the World Bank and the director of International Relations of the Federal Ministry of Finance.
Africa, she said, is excited about her nomination and “sees it as their nomination and very significant for the continent because it has never happened before. The entire continent is in support.”
The minister put forward her candidacy on the demand of African leaders “with the very strong goodwill and support of President Goodluck Jonathan, who was called by many leaders in the continent to release her for the job.”
She insisted that her passion and commitment to the country remains unwavering, even as she expressed gratitude to Nigerians for their support as well as the tremendous support from all over the world.
Giving an insight to her vision for the World Bank if elected president, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala spoke of plans to build “an institution that is swifter and nimbler to combine the strength of World Bank, groups to help developing countries create jobs for teeming numbers of unemployed youths, a World Bank that can deploy it huge financial and material resources to confront unemployment in emerging markets and less developed countries.”
“I would build an institution that can work fast to support countries during market volatilities, to work on the big problems that developing countries have.”
All these, she argued could be achieved, given her wealth of experience. In the event of her emergence, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala maintained the current reforms of transformation agenda of the Jonathan administration will be carried on in her absence because Nigeria has capable people to push the reforms through.
Giving the reasons for Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s nomination, Dr. Muktar said the wide range of her “impeccable credentials qualifies her to offer leadership for the World Bank.”
He said the Group of 20 (G-20) developed economies last year proposed a selection that is fair and merit-based, which he said are what is bolstering Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s supporters to push for her candidacy.
“Her supporters,” Muktar said, “are asking for an open, fair, selection process and looking forward to a positive outcome in this regard.”
Culled from The Nation

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