Posted on | maart 25, 2012 | No Comments
President Obama’s surprise announcement, Friday, of South Korean-born US academic, Jim Yong Kim, as the United States Nominee for World Bank president stayed growing hopes of seeing the Nigeria’s Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala succeed Robert Zoellick after 30th of June this year.
Former Colombian finance minister, Jose Antonio Ocampo, and Okonjo-Iweala have been the top nominees for the job since nomination opened recently and guesses have grown about the United States pick. The US, of the 187-member nation of the World Bank, holds the most votes to elect a president, making Kim, with the support of Europe and other allies, the anointed candidate.
Okonjo-Iweala, 57, was a World Bank senior official, and has some experience in the Nigerian Government cabinet positions. She is well educated and largely accomplished. She is the coordinating minister of the Nigerian economy and she shares some of the glory in the recent surge of investments in Nigeria.
She has been pushing reforms, with what her team believes will be of benefit to the people over the long term. Part of the reforms includes government removal of gasoline subsidies to have the money used in developing the real sector of the economy. She also has proposals that will benefit the economy in different ways.
She has a combined experience, working in the World Bank, and in a developing economy, that still benefits from aid. She probably will be a good pick, if elected, but her chances are dim compared with the US candidate, that buoyed locally amongst guessed picks like Larry Summers and Susan Rice.
Okonjo-Iweala may be ready to abandon her Nigerian job for one that may still benefit the nation, but, work undone in Nigeria is in multiples relative to work to be done in the World Bank’s 5-years position combined. Nigeria has a GDP per capita problem, which contrasts the recent-quarterly growth of its nominal GDP.
The country is largely underdeveloped with basic services unavailable to most households. Challenges that made headlines in the past in the country, and tentatively solved, become problems over and over again for new governments.
The country even has security issues, with increased restive areas, and blames of, tied to poverty. Attention also, for whatever reason, is off-real issues and ‘trifles’ get front pages. There are many things needing shape within and outside the government, and Okonjo-Iweala is playing a solution part and can consciously play more.
Working out and pursuing to achieve a near and medium term plan to boost per capita GDP in Nigeria may be a priceless achievement in her generation. Touching the lowest from the comfort of her office, will boost productivity, court peace, and grow the economy, in an achievement that will burnish her image on the global stage.
She will also achieve, if she goes on to become the World Bank chief, and Africa may be happy to see her there for the sake of it, but, gone are the days when it is true that with your person in position, you get the most advantage. This traditional idea probably led to her getting the support of Nigeria, Angola and South Africa, in what they believe may favor them.
The World Bank structure has ‘always favored’ Africa, and won’t sharply change with Iweala as chief. She may go on to get the backing of China and India, but they can use that as a quid from Nigeria. Nigeria however, needs her there, to have a global figure carry its puny unpopular name.
As President Obama, in a press conference with Hillary Clinton and Jim Yong Kim, nominated Kim with reasons, he will be favored for his experience in global health and won’t be completely seen as an American, for his Asian roots. Okonjo-Iweala can tour the World in her bid, and remain in the spotlight with her ambition, but, she should look to going back home to boost per capita GDP as her emergence as World Bank president this year will take more than a miracle
AUTHOR: David Stephen
E-MAIL: Stephen [at] trpns.com