Calls to fundamentally change the way governments appoint the heads of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have been growing louder in the past decade, and rightly so. But these demands for a merit-based process have failed to overcome America’s and Europe’s grip on a feudal entitlement that suits their interest but is unquestionably outdated and harmful.
Now that it is time to select a new World Bank president, I have the feeling that some progress may finally be made, not because of the enlightened vision of governments, but due to the courage of some highly-qualified individuals.
The global economy would be well served if the brave actions of such individuals were to serve as a tipping point. They could turn out to be the much-needed catalyst that prompts other qualified and interested candidates to also step forward, that effectively energises emerging countries to support strong candidates, and that forces Europe and the US to finally adopt the type of approach that they have no hesitation in advocating for others: one that is open, transparent, competitive and merit-based.