Monday, 9 April 2012

Africa is ready to lead the world

Witten by Gael Masengi

Since its inception in 1944, the World Bank has been ran by Americans only and as for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) dominated by Europeans citizens… well that might change as she is expected to possibly win the top job at the world largest finance institution this April.
Minister Ngozi Okonjo Iwaela
Hailed by economy experts as “right for World Bank”, the Nigerian Ngozi Okonjo Iwaela is bidding for presidency of the World Bank and a handful of African nations are throwing their unconditional supports behind her candidacy. In contrast to her two opponents, the Harvard graduated economy veteran, Okonjo Iwaela is apparently the most qualified and experienced for the job, she has spent years as the Managing Director of the agency before leaving to be appointed by the former Nigerian President Obasandjo as Finance Minister. The Economist website praises her as it wrote, it’s important for the World Bank to follow its own advice given to poor nations “to reject cronyism and fill each important job with the best candidate available…In appointing its next president, the bank’s board should reject the nominee of its most influential shareholder, America and to pick Nigeria’s Ngozi O. Iwaela.” Mrs Iwaela is currently working as the finance mister a post she already occupied from 2003 to 2006. She helped Nigeria to strike a deal with the Paris Club, a group of bilateral creditors to pay a portion of her country’s external debt in return for an $18 billion debt write-off. 

“It’s time to beak the tradition." noted Logan Wort, Executive Secretary of African Tax Development  Administration Forum, who wrote "This call has been made before with the leading voices that include the South African Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel and former Rwanda Finance Minister, Dr Donald Kaberuka. With minister Ngozi Okonjo Iwaela at the helm [of World Bank] it is not only developing countries that will have a stronger voice, but also Africa specifically. Africa has not only made great progress in developing its market (…) it has also made a tremendous strides in achieving greater economic growth. As an investment destination, Africa is now a recognised market”  

The World Bank logo
Analysts believe that, it may not be a surprise given Africa is rapidly emerging as a key developing market that its people will often be considered as potential candidates to run global organizations. However as an African I think, it’s also fair to say that our leaders fail to meet certain ‘international criteria’ required to run those organizations, consider two of the continent’s biggest challenges remain corruption and the difficulties shown to spell the word democracy, two decades ago in the Democratic Republic of Congo (then Zaire) the former dictator Mobutu Sese Seko broke down in tears simply because he was forced by the opposition to introduce “democracy”. This explains how power is conceived within African perspective. 

Mrs Iwaela Okonjo’s move signals that Africans are ready to take on the world contrary to the way; the black continent has been side-lined for decades from the rest of the globe.
 Three candidates are in the running to become president of the World Bank, include Okonjo Iwaela if she wins, she will become the first non-American citizen to snag the head of top bank job. US president, Barack Obama nominated Jim Yong Kim an health expert Asian-American, the other candidate is Columbia’s finance minister Jose Ocampo.

‘The appointment of an African to the presidency of the World Bank would change the face of international economic and political affairs.’  wrote Logan  ‘It would signal a new era in the request to diminish the North-South divide and it would give greater importance to tackling some of the issues on the continent and generally in the developing world through the skill and leadership of a person who has first-hand understanding of them. African countries should support her candidacy. They should be brave enough to act in their own interests and not pander to the charms and alms of the developed world.’

Mrs Okonjo Iwaela was educated at the prestigious Harvard University and has a PhD in regional economic from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T). 

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