Search Form
First, enter a politician or zip code
Now, choose a category

Public Statements

Reflections on the World Bank Presidential Contest

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. BURTON of Indiana. Mr. Speaker, on Monday the World Bank formally selected Dr. Jim Yong Kim, president of Dartmouth College, and an expert in public health, as its next president. Dr. Kim's selection continues a long-standing practice of having an American lead the institution; which is appropriate as the United States is the single largest financial contributor to the bank. Typically, the selection of a new World Bank president draws little notice but this year, in the most open and transparent selection process in the bank's 68 year history, the Board of Directors had three well-qualified candidates to choose from.

Although the United States supported Dr. Kim, and I agree with his selection, it should be noted that the other two candidates, former Colombian finance minister Jose Antonio Ocampo and Nigeria's current finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, were equally qualified for the position. Mr. Ocampo has a strong record of public service with both the United Nations and the Government of Colombia, most notably serving as the United Nations' Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs; Executive Secretary for the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean; and in Colombia as Minister of Finance and Public Credit and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. Likewise, Ms. Okonjo-Iweala is a globally renowned Nigerian economist best known for her two terms as Finance Minister of Nigeria (her current position) and for her work at the World Bank, including several years as one of its Managing Directors. The Board of Directors was clearly blessed to have three outstanding candidates to choose from.

I commend Mr. Ocampo and Ms. Okonjo-Iweala for driving a spirited and appropriate debate about the future direction of the World Bank. It is always good to obtain new perspectives and to explore new ideas. Indeed, in accepting his new position yesterday, Dr. Kim recognized the growing influence of our colleagues in the world's emerging economies--as represented by Mr. Ocampo and Ms. Okonjo-Iweala--and pledged to ``seek a new alignment of the World Bank Group with a rapidly changing world.'' And he also committed himself to fostering a bank that, among other things, ``amplifies the voices of developing countries and draws on the expertise and experience of the people we serve.''

I hope that Mr. Ocampo and Ms. Okonjo-Iweala will take up Dr. Kim's call to work with him to reshape the World Bank into a more potent tool for helping to resolve some of the world's most intractable problems. And I ask my colleagues to join me in recognizing all three outstanding World Bank president candidates for their dedication to service.

Skip to top

Help us stay free for all your Fellow Americans

Just $5 from everyone reading this would do it.

Back to top