IFI governance


Southern voices join howls of protest at Wolfowitz nomination

21 March 2005

Pressure is mounting on World Bank executive directors worldwide to oppose the nomination of Paul Wolfowitz for World Bank president.

  • “…an outrage to all of us that aspire to build an international system that is more just, peaceful and committed to fostering socially and environmentally sustainable forms of development”.
    Rede Brasil, Brazilian NGO network on IFIs
  • “Wolfowitz is a controversial person for his role in Iraq war and his nomination to head the World Bank has stunned the world.”
    Right to Food Movement, Bangladesh
  • “…fundamentally ill-suited to a a multilateral institution which must balance the diverse interests of its member countries”.
    Central and Eastern European Bankwatch Network
  • “…raises critical issues about the independence of the institution and its ability to give development loans to countries that do not conform to the Americanisation of the world.”
    The Reporter, Gabarone
  • The former president of Senegal and now head of La Francophonie, Abdou Diouf, said on Sunday that he was “very surprised” about the nomination.
  • The Congress of South African Trade Unions said that it was “shocked” at the nomination of “such a conservative … into a position which ought to be advancing the interests of the poor”.

31 March deadline

A statement from the World Bank has said that executive directors will conduct informal meetings over the coming days with Wolfowitz “as part of the consultative process on this subject.” Wolfowitz met executive directors for Japan, China, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and France on 20 March. After the consultations, the executive directors will meet in formal session to select the president, expected to take place on 31 March.

The nomination will be discussed by European heads of state 22 March. European premiers will be gathering in Brussels for a European Council meeting. European executive directors to the Bank will also meet together for the first time next week to discuss the issue.

an outrage to all of us

First test for Blair’s commitment to Africa

UK NGOs are seeing the Wolfowitz nomination as the first real test of the British government’s commitment to its stated goals for African development. ActionAid UK took out a 3/4 page ad in the Guardian calling for the government to live up to the recommendations of the Commission for Africa – the first of which was a recommendation to open up the leadership selection process at the World Bank.

The Wolfowitz nomination was a recurring theme in 19 March demonstrations against the continued occupation of Iraq. An estimated 50,000 protesters lined London streets, marking two years since the start of war in Iraq. Lindsey German, convenor of Stop The War Coalition, said “the nomination of Wolfowitz, the man who is recognised as chief architect of war with Iraq, will outrage most decent people.”