Race hots up for World Bank chief post; Sachs in contention
Washington: With just about two weeks left for filing nominations, the race for the World Bank President position has gathered steam, while one of the contenders, economist Jeffrey Sachs, has also made his interest public.
Ever since the incumbent Robert Zoellick announced last month his decision to step down from the coveted post of the world's most influential banker, names of a number of potential successors have been doing the rounds.
The probable names in initial days even included Hillary Clinton, currently the US Secretary of State, but her office later clarified that she was not in the race.
The names doing the rounds also include the US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, his predecessor Larry Summers and Bangladesh's Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus. No official word has come on any of these people.
The nominations can be filed for the post of World Bank chief till March 23.
Sachs, a Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, is probably first prominent American to publicise his candidature at this juncture.
"My quest to help end poverty has taken me to more than 125 countries, from mega-city capitals to mountain-top villages, from rain forest settlements to nomadic desert camps.
"Now I hope it will take me to 18th and Pennsylvania, to the presidency of the World Bank. I am eager for this challenge," Sachs recently wrote in the Washington Post.
The World Bank headquarters building in Washington has its entrance at the corner of 18th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue and is often referred to as '18th and Pennsylvania'.
Sachs has been a vocal advocate of India's growth story.
Emerging nations including India are stressing on merit than just nationality in making the choice, since the top World Bank post has traditionally been held by an American since the time of the World War II.
BRICS -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa --have said that the new World Bank President should be selected on merit and not on nationality.
Representatives of BRICS, who met on the sidelines of a G20 meeting last month in Mexico City, opined that top World Bank job should be open to all countries.
India had taken a similar stance during the selection of International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief, which finally went to France's Christine Lagarde.
Since 1945, the World Bank has been headed by an American while the chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been from Europe.
The World Bank Group has 187 member countries.