The bid by Jeffrey Sachs to capture the presidency of the
World Bank appeared to be generating a groundswell of support
in Latin America last night after three more countries lent
their support to his bid.
Explicit backing by Chile and Colombia and strongly-worded
support by Mexico came a day after Emerging Markets
revealed that Uruguay was backing Sachs, who set out his agenda
in an exclusive interview in this newspaper. Haiti is already
The finance minister of Mexico, which holds the chair of the
Group of 20 rich and emerging nations, said it viewed
Sachs surprise self-nomination for the post quite
We are closely watching this process, said Jose
Antonio Meade. We think Jeffrey Sachs, who is a
prestigious economist and knows Latin America well, has made
important contributions, and we view his interest quite
We need to see what other candidates express interest,
how the process develops, and at the end of the day, hope that
it complies with what G-20 has said, that the multilaterals
undertake these processes clearly and transparently and based
Mexico was one of the most outspoken countries a year ago
when the sudden resignation of IMF managing director Dominique
Strauss-Kahn created a vacancy that was filled by French
finance minister Christine Lagarde.
Many emerging economies have long complained about a
gentlemens agreement that has given control
of the Bank to an American and the IMF to a European since they
were founded 70 years ago.
Juan Carlos Echeverry, Colombias finance Minister,
told Emerging Markets: We like the name of
Jeffrey Sachs and together with other countries, Chile and
Uruguay, we are promoting this candidacy.
In his interview with Emerging Markets on Friday,
Sachs backed the idea of an open merit-based context and said
he wanted to be a candidate that has broad worldwide
I am certainly not running as the US candidate. The
countries know me and know I am not someone who represents one
country, politics or policy I never have.
Sachs has also received the endorsement of six other
countries - Kenya, Bhutan, Jordan, Malaysia, Namibia and
On Friday 27 members of the US Congress wrote to President
Barack Obama strongly encouraging him to nominate
Sachs as the US candidate.
However he has run into opposition over his role in advising
the governments of Bolivia and Russia over their economic
Colin Bradford, a senior fellow at the Brookings
Institution, said Sachss nomination had attracted
controversy but stressed he had a made a positive
contribution by putting his name forward. There is no
doubt of his commitment to development and poverty reduction
and there is no doubt he is a thought leader in his
field, he told Emerging Markets.
He said he was disappointed no one from an emerging market
had put their name forward despite speculation surrounding
figures such as World Bank managing director Sri Mulyani,
former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, ex-Brazilian
president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and Nigerian finance
minister Ngozi Okonjo.
I would hope that someone else would step forward from
another emerging country, Bradford said. Then the
bank could have an honest real conversation about merits
because you have more than one candidate.