Fin24

African leaders likely to name their man

2012-03-23 09:34

Johannesburg - The finance ministers of South Africa, Nigeria and Angola called a news conference for Friday likely to address reports that they are backing Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to become president of the World Bank.

"The finance ministers of Angola, Nigeria and South Africa are meeting in Pretoria tomorrow," a statement from South Africa's Treasury said, without giving details of the agenda.

Okonjo-Iweala and former Colombian finance minister Jose Antonio Ocampo are set to make the first concerted challenge to the US grip on the top job at the World Bank, sources told Reuters this week.

Brazil said this week that both Okonjo-Iweala and Ocampo would be "great" candidates to replace Robert Zoellick as head of the Washington-based development institution, the latest sign of emerging nations wanting more say in how it is run.

Washington has held the presidency since the bank's founding after World War Two, while a European has always led its sister organisation, the International Monetary Fund.

Despite the push by emerging nations, the United States has the bank's largest voting share and is expected to win the support of most developed nations, making it likely that another American will succeed Zoellick.

The United States has yet to identify a nominee.