Bloomberg News

Brazil Said to Still Be Evaluating World Bank Candidates

March 23, 2012

Brazil still hasn’t decided who it will support to become the World Bank’s next president after it nominated former Colombian Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo to lead the institution, a government official said.

Brazil put forth Ocampo’s nomination today at the request of the Dominican Republic, whom it represents on the multilateral lender’s executive board, said the official in Brasilia, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

For Brazil, more important than a candidate’s nationality is whether they support the government’s goal of giving a bigger voice to emerging markets in the running of the Washington-based institution, the official said.

Ocampo, who teaches at Columbia University in New York, was one of three candidates nominated today to succeed Robert Zoellick when he steps down from the bank in June. He’ll compete against Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the U.S. nominee Jim Yong Kim, president of Dartmouth College.

Brazil has long criticized the informal arrangement that gives the bank’s leadership to an U.S. citizen and that of the International Monetary Fund to a European. Still, it failed to back Mexico central bank Governor Agustin Carstens when he challenged Christine Lagarde last year for leadership of the IMF.

Carstens said today that he does not see conditions for a “fair” election to choose the next World Bank chief.

“What would be interesting is that the election take place under a mechanism that really tries to identify the best possible candidate,” Carstens said in an interview before participating in a Bloomberg CEO roundtable discussion in Mexico City today. “I fear that we are not there yet.”

Heads of state from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will discuss the possibility of jointly supporting a candidate to lead the World Bank when they meet next week in New Dehli for a summit of the BRICS group of major emerging markets, Carlos Cozendey, secretary for international affairs at the Brazilian Finance Ministry, said earlier today before the nominations were announced.

To contact the reporter on this story: Arnaldo Galvao in Brasilia Newsroom at agalvao1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net


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