Years ago, a simple chant united millions of Latin Americans in their desire to move away from dictatorship: cambia, todo cambia or everything changes. Well, the monopolistic, feudal and entitlement-based approach to appointing the president of the World Bank appears to be finally giving way to a more open, competitive, transparent and merit-based system.
As we count down to the official deadline on Friday, three highly credible professionals are on the verge of being nominated as official candidates to replace former president Robert Zoellick, namely José Antonio Ocampo from Colombia, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from Nigeria and Jeff Sachs from the United States.
This is not to say that America will not get its way. It could well do so, especially if the Europeans provide overwhelming support. But in order for this to materialise, the US must first come up with a highly credible candidate given the quality of the other candidates.
The world has waited a very long time for a more suitable and defensible system for selecting the leaders of the two most important international financial institutions. It could well be on the verge of getting it due to the courage of talented individuals, and the perseverance of many advocates for this sensible and overdue change. It is now up to the Bank’s executive directors to step up to their responsibilities.