"Fullest consideration" to Yunus for WB Prez post: US

On February 22, Hasina proposed Yunus’s name for the World Bank chief`s post during a meeting with a EU delegation.

Dhaka: The US will give "fullest
consideration" to the candidature of Nobel Laureate economist
Muhammad Yunus for the World Bank presidency if he wants to
head the multilateral agency, American Ambassador to
Bangladesh Dan Mozena said here on Tuesday.

"If he agrees (to be a candidate for the World Bank
presidency), he will be given fullest consideration," US
Ambassador Dan Mozena told newsmen on the sidelines of a
function in northwestern Rajshahi.

The envoy, however, did not elaborate further.

He was responding to a query on the surprise move by
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina suggesting his candidature for
the position last week.

On February 22, Hasina proposed Yunus’s name for the
World Bank chief`s post during a meeting with a EU
parliamentary delegation months after his resignation from the
Grameen Bank after a protracted dispute with her government.

Since the setting up of World Bank after the end of the
Second World War, Americans have held the top job at World
Bank, while the chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
has been from Europe.

Representatives of Brazil, Russia, India, China and
South Africa (BRICS), who met on the sidelines of a G20
meeting in Mexico City early this week, were of the opinion
that the top World Bank job should be open to all countries.

"Candidates should be based on merit and not on
nationality," Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega had

The BRICS nations may also field their candidate for the
post to make a larger point that the merit and not nationality
should be the criterion for selection.
Countries have to submit names for the job by March 23.

"The Prime Minister has requested the European Union to
use its good office for Dr Yunus for the presidency of the
World Bank" a senior aide to the Premier had told PTI when a
visiting EU delegation, led by EU Parliament member Jean
Lambert, called on the Prime Minister at her office.

Another "source" familiar with the meeting said Hasina
noted that Yunus is well-respected across the world for his
outstanding contribution towards alleviating poverty through
micro-credit activities and his experience would be a valuable
asset for the World Bank.

Yunus, whose experiment of poor men’s banking earned
Bangladesh the reputation of of being the home to micro
credit. He also won the the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.

He was not available for comments on the issue for the
past one week.

The 70-year old had resigned last year from Grammeen
Bank after he lost in the apex court against a Bangladesh Bank
decision to remove him from the position.

Hasina’s proposition instantly sparked wide speculations
if it was an effort to reverse her stance on Yunus,
particularly to woo the US administration which stood by Yunus
at the time of his dispute with the government.

"I do not think Yunus is looking for the position,"
Professor Imtiaz Ahmed of Dhaka University said. "I don’t
think this (proposal) is practical or relevant. I also don’t
think this will be looked positively," he added.

Bangladesh Bank had removed Yunus after finding that
his appointment as the Grameen Bank’s executive chief was
faulty because the central bank’s mandatory approval was not
obtained at that time.

Analysts, however, said the central bank decision was
the outcome of the government reservation against him as
Yunus’s troubles stem from 2007 when he announced formation of
a political party.