‘I’ll Fight To Win World Bank Top Job’


Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, yesterday in Abidjan said she would fight to win the position of the World Bank President, after getting fresh endorsements from  African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States  (ECOWAS).

The AU on Monday in Addis Ababa, endorsed Okonjo-Iweala as its candidate for the top job, while ECOWAS Heads of States on Tuesday in Abidjan, also declared their support for the former Managing Director.

The endorsements buoyed the chances of the former Managing Director of the World Bank, who had spent over 20 years working as a staff of the Bank and rose to the position of a Vice President.

Okonjo-Iweala, in an interview with the West Africa correspondent, said she had the track record of leading the bank, “in spite of the odds of history”.

On U.S. President Barack Obama’s endorsement of another candidate, she said: “Let’s give it a good fight, with a level playing ground we still stand the chance to win. ’’

Obama had endorsed a South Korean-born medical doctor, Jim Yong Kim, for the top job.

Our  correspondent quotes Okonjo-Iweala as saying that: “President Goodluck Jonathan endorsed my candidature and sent me immediately to the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, where I was received and a communiqué was issued.

“I was also at the extra-ordinary meeting of the ECOWAS Heads of States in Abidjan and the family declared to support my candidature as well. ’’

The Tide gathered that the former managing director had also extended her campaign to Asia to woo interests.

Some financial experts said election of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Finance, as the President of World Bank, would bring development to developing nations.

They said this in separate interviews with our correspondent in Lagos last Wednesday.

Our correspondent reports that the African Union, had during its just concluded summit in Addis Ababa, endorsed the nomination of Okonjo-Iweala for the president of the bank.

Dr Olumide Owoade, a senior lecturer, Department of Economics, Lagos State University, said that the election of Okonjo-Iweala as the World Bank president would promote the country’s business interest at the international level.

He said that her election would also place the country on the competitive advantage over other African countries.

Owoade said that the position would enable her to present the nation’s economic problems to the IMF for necessary financial assistance.

“If the minister of finance is elected as the next president of the World Bank, it will make the country to be closer to the IMF which will have positive influence on the economy,” he said.

Dr Samuel Nzekwe, the immediate past President, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), said that the election of Okonjo-Iweala as the World Bank President would make the country to be more recognised internationally.

He said that the position would enable the international community to begin to explore the investment opportunities in the country.

Nzekwe urged the Federal Government to aggressively put in place adequate measure for infrastructure development, good governance and security to woo the investors.

“The ability of the government to have a good framework in place will make the emergence of Okonjo-Iweala as the World Bank president to have positive impact on the nation’s economy,” he said.

Also, Mr Eddie Osarenkhoe, the former President, Finance Houses Association of Nigeria (FHAN), said that Okonjo-Iweala’s election would be beneficial to African countries.

He said that this would help the country in sourcing for external loans to revamp the decaying infrastructure.

Osarenkhoe said that it would also attract new foreign investors into the country, which he said, would provide jobs opportunities for the unemployed youth.

“I believe that if Okonjo-Iweala is elected as the World Bank President, it will promote the nation’s economic activities and enhance good performance,” he said.