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World Bank under pressure to select a president from the emerging economies

The Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank confirmed today that, as announced on February 17, the period for submitting nominations for the position of the next President of the World Bank closed on Friday, March 23. The Board is pleased to announce that the following three nominees will be considered for the position:

Jim Yong Kim, a US national and President of Dartmouth College, New Hampshire

José Antonio Ocampo, a Colombian national and Professor at Columbia University, New York

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a Nigerian national and Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Nigeria

AFP – The United States remained tightlipped about its choice to lead the World Bank on Thursday, the eve of the deadline for nominations for the next president of the huge development lender.

The emergence of strong candidates from developing countries has the Obama administration scrambling to come up with a heavy-hitter from the United States, which traditionally chooses the head of the World Bank, a person close to the situation said.

A little more than 24 hours before nominations close at the end of the business day Friday, the White House said it had no timing on a US nomination.

“I have no news to make on the World Bank front,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shot to the top of the rumor mill filling the news vacuum after a former Colombian finance minister and central bank chief, Jose Antonio Ocampo, announced his candidacy Wednesday.

Ocampo, currently a Columbia University professor, also said that Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was a candidate.

But a spokesman for Okonjo-Iweala said that the former top-level World Bank official “is not seeking it.”

However, he told AFP, “there seems to be some serious enthusiasm for the idea.”

A person close to the World Bank confirmed that, saying Okonjo-Iweala’s name is “making the rounds” and was expected to be proposed by South Africa.

“It’s an extremely serious candidacy: she is a woman, black, minister of finance and is a well-known person at the World Bank,” where she was managing director from 2007 to 2011, the person said.

“That puts enormous pressure on the US side,” the source said. “They’re going to have to propose a high-profile candidate.”