SA questions World Bank transparency

2012-04-16 10:46

Johannesburg - Serious doubt exists about the transparency of the process in electing the next World Bank president, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Monday.

“From what I’ve heard there are serious concerns about the level of transparency,” Gordhan told the Foreign Correspondents Association in Johannesburg.

Directors of the World Bank will meet later in Washington DC on Monday to decide on the next president. The two candidates are Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the US candidate, Dr Jim Yong Kim, an Asian-American public health expert and head of Dartmouth University.

The third candidate - Jose Antonio Ocampo, Colombia’s former finance minister and a professor at New York’s Colombia University - withdrew last week.

South Africa and the rest of Africa support Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy.

However, it is widely expected that the US candidate will win. The US has always chosen the candidate since the World Bank was established in 1944. In turn, a European has always headed the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This is the first time ever that there has been a challenger.

However, Gordhan questioned whether the process followed has been democratic and transparent.

“The invitation was open to anybody to nominate a candidate... the question is whether the process subsequent to that has followed through on the basis of democratic tenets.”

He questioned whether all candidates were given a chance to meet the position’s merit-based criteria.

“I think we’re going to find this process falls short of this criteria.”

Gordhan said the world would wait for the announcement to see whether the World Bank has “improved its legitimacy”.

Current president Robert Zoellick will leave the institution at the end of his five-year term in June.

  • Paul - 2012-04-16 11:03

    Ensure transparency at home before being concerned about transparency abroad......

      Phiwe - 2012-04-16 12:31

      just goes to show how little facts most of you on these forums know. You just take the negative view because it's the ANC in charge. For your information, South Africa is one of the most transparent countries in the world, especially our national budget process is rated the most in the world by an international body that (to ally your default pessimistic view) has no obligation to be favourable to the SA government. Our financial service is probably more transparent than most, certainly it is one the better regulated in the world.

      Phiwe - 2012-04-16 12:41

      @Phiwe, before insulting other readers please refer to the corruption perception index 2011. South Africa is placed 64th. Not a leading light I am afraid, and if you analyse the rating you will see we have lost a full point since 2007.

      Rob - 2012-04-16 12:54

      Yes, I agree, especially pertaining to the e-toll debacle. How is who is head of the World Bank going to benefit us or sort out this daylight robbery system you helped create.

      Phiwe - 2012-04-16 13:28

      unlucky for you, you chose to reference a rating index that is not even widely accepted having received criticism about its quality and the proces of data collection and experts were calling for its abandonment because it's inapt at doing the job. Awwww unlucky!! Bring credible sources next time, mkay?

      Sean - 2012-04-16 14:26

      @Phiwe. Since when does the ANC believe in appointing the best person for the job. If the ANC had any say they would have a system of Cadre Deployment and the World Bank would be robbed blind in a week.

      Chad - 2012-04-16 14:39

      @Phiwe, refer to "Transparency International", who are responsible for collating the index. Quoting Wikipedia, "Transparency International furthermore played a vital role in the introduction of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention" and "The Corruption Perceptions Index—besides the World Bank corruption index[6]—is the most commonly used measure for corruption in countries worldwide".

      Phiwe - 2012-04-16 14:54

      yes the corruption index devised by Transparency International is not credible having been criticised widely. Transparency International may very well be a reputable body but their corruption index (the one in question here) received criticism because it's inapt methodologically. They may have other reports on corruuption which may well be good but this one really hasnt received much endorsement to be taken seriously by anyone. @Sean - okay! @Sean - you're ridiculous.

  • Mark - 2012-04-16 12:48

    Interesting these morons use the merit card when commenting on these international positions like the World bank and the IMF , but when it comes to local appointments its all race based. Gordhan is a total bozo and I enjoy reading his comments

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