Recently Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina requested the European Union to nominate Nobel Laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus as the president of the World Bank considering his experience, merit and worldwide recognition. No doubt it is one of the best proposals of our premier. How far this proposal is rational? Usually, the president is selected by the Executive Directors for a five-year, renewable term. Although it is not mandatory to become a citizen of America to be World Bank president, however, it has become a tradition that a citizen of the US holds the post of presidency. A “gentlemen’s agreement” between Europe and the US dating back to World War II ensures that the President of the World Bank is always an American.
A global coalition of campaigners including Oxfam, Eurodad and the African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (Afrodad), have also asked the US to announce that it will no longer seek to monopolise the Presidential position. In an open letter to World Bank governors, the campaigners demanded that:
• The new President is selected by a majority of World Bank member countries, not just a majority of voting shares - the majority of these are from low and middle-income countries.
• The selection process is open to anyone to apply, with interviews held in public and with open voting procedures.
• A clear job description and required qualifications is set out, and that these include a strong understanding and experience of the particular problems facing developing countries.
As the bank operates mostly in the developing countries, so any candidate not supported by a majority of these countries would plainly lack legitimacy. Elizabeth Stuart of Oxfam said.
Jeroen Kwakkenbos of Eurodad said: “The next World Bank chief can’t be selected in a behind-the-scenes carve-up. The second wave of global economic crisis is almost certainly going to start hitting poor countries very hard, very soon. The World Bank needs to be geared to respond with credible, legitimate leadership in place. The US should no longer seek to monopolise this position.”
Collins Magalasi of Afrodad said: “It’s a World Bank, not a US Bank. It needs the best candidate to get the job with support of wide Bank membership, not just the US”.
The Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s proposal is absolutely right and it is believed that if Bangladesh raised its voice with the world campaigners’ Prof Muhammad Yunus could be the 12th president of the World Bank. The World Bank will be benefitted by appointing Prof Muhammad Yunus as a president. Lets forget the political contention and raise our voice for Prof Muhammad Yunus.
The writer is an LL.M of Liverpool John Moores University and an LL.B (Hons) LL.M of Dhaka University is an advocate
BDST 1129 HRS, FEB 23, 2012
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