Ocampo hopes to open World Bank leadership to all

29 March 2012

Reuters Africa - March 29, 2012

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former Colombian finance minister Jose Antonion Ocampo knows he faces a tough battle to head the World Bank but he hopes his bid will pave the way for developing countries to one day lead the global development institution.

Ocampo is in a three-way race with U.S. nominee Jim Yong Kim, a Korean-American health expert, and Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who was put forward by South Africa, Angola and Nigeria.

It is the first time since the development lender was founded after World War Two that Washington's nominee is being challenged: an American has always led the World Bank and a European has always led the International Monetary Fund.

Ocampo's name surfaced in the past as a potential nominee for the IMF, but he always demurred, knowing Europe had a lock on the post.

While Kim is expected to win the World Bank job with the backing of U.S. allies in Europe, Ocampo feels a commitment by the bank to an open selection process paves the way for change.

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