Nigeria has been known all over the world for various reasons, the good, the bad and at times, the ugly. For those who live outside the country, the mere mention that you are a Nigerian arouses curiosities and questions about 419 related emails, Boko Haram and the ingenuity of Nigerians. It is well documented that Nigerians are the most educated immigrants in America and the likes of Phillip Emeagwali, Prof Wale Soyinka, Chief Emeka Anyaoku and Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to mention but a few, have put Nigeria on the world map for everything tasty and palatable. With such names and those like them, Nigeria should endeavour to take advantage of every opportunity to polish the image of the country at the world stage. The last time a Nigerian was at the helm of a world-wide organisation was when Chief Emeka Anyaoku was the secretary General of the Commonwealth from 1990 to 2000.
There seems to be an opportunity at the World Bank to show case Nigeria following the decision of the current World Bank President to step down. The Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank which met on January 9 under the Chairmanship of its Dean, Dr. Merza Hasan, discussed the selection process for the next President of the World Bank Group, after the current President, Jim Yong Kim, announced that he will be stepping down from his position on February 1. The World Bank Board, while affirming its commitment to “an open, merit-based and transparent selection process agreed that candidates should be committed to the implementation of the Forward Look and the capital package agreement as articulated in the Sustainable Financing for Sustainable Development Paper”.
To be selected, prospective candidates should have a proven track record of leadership; experience of managing large organisations with international exposure, and a familiarity with the public sector; the ability to articulate a clear vision of the World Bank Group’s development mission; a firm commitment to and appreciation for multilateral cooperation; and, effective and diplomatic communication skills, impartiality and objectivity in the performance of the responsibilities of the position. In addition to the criteria already enumerated, candidates must be nationals of the Bank’s member countries.
Nominations for the presidency are required to be submitted during a period starting on February 7 by 9 A.M. Eastern Standard Time (EST) and ending on March 14 by 9 A.M. EST, and may be made by Executive Directors, or by Governors through their Executive Director. Following the close of the nomination period, the Executive Directors are expected to decide on a shortlist of up to three candidates and publish the names of the shortlisted candidates with their consent. Formal interviews by the Executive Directors would be conducted for all shortlisted candidates with the expectation of selecting the new President before the Spring Meetings of 2019.
About World Bank President
The President of the World Bank is ex officio chair of the Board of the Executive Directors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). The President is also ex officio chair of the Board of Directors of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the Administrative Council of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
Who Shall We Send
Nigeria has been a member of the World Bank since March 30, 1961 and as already noted, Nigeria has capable hands that can be nominated for the presidency of the World Bank. One name that readily comes to mind, is that of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. This colossus of a Nigerian has all it takes to be the president of the World Bank. She has been Independent Director of Twitter, Inc.
since July 19, 2018 and Senior Advisor of Lazard Ltd since September 21, 2015. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala has worked with Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and she is also an Adviser to World Bank on the Stolen Assets Recovery initiative. She served as Managing Director at The World Bank Group from December 1, 2007 to August 2011. Before Serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria from 2003 to 2006 and Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Honourable Minister of Finance of Nigeria until 2015, she served in a number of important positions at the World Bank such as Vice President and Corporate Secretary, Director of Operations in the Middle East and North Africa region and Country Director for the South East Asia and Mongolia Country unit. With over 30 years of economic development and financial expertise and as an internationally renowned economist and a prominent African leader, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala more than qualifies to be the president of the World Bank.
I cannot write about all her background here because her achievements and capabilities are too numerous for a blog this small. All I am saying is that President Buhari should do Nigeria this singular favour by nominating Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala for the position of World Bank President. With Nigeria’s image so badly disfigured by the activities of yahoo boys, 419, Boko Haram and corruption, a World Bank presidency will go a long way in polishing the battered image.