Link to the article used for this opinion piece: World Bank:
Obama Nominaes Dartmouth's Jim Yong Kim to World Bank Chief
It was a bit of a shock yesterday when I was making a random trip around the net checking out what the world stock markets were doing and I stumbled
across an article in the LA Times about the recent Obama nomination for the new head of the World Bank. Up until this time the person that was most
commonly being considered to take over this extremely high profile position was Hillary Clinton. And with all honesty it seemed at the time to fit
because Zoellick had announced he would be stepping down in June 2012 coupled with an announcement by Hillary that she would not be seeking another
Government appointment after this term of Obama's was over. I was not the only one who cocked an eyebrow wondering if perhaps she was going to make
the move to World Bank, infact that sentiment was echoed up by numerous others as well such as Reuters.
Link to HuffPost's reprint of Reuters article
A third source said Obama has already expressed support for the change in her role. It is unclear whether Obama has formally agreed to nominate
her for the post, which would require approval by the 187 member countries of the World Bank.
(Source from HuffPost link above)
So, not only was it a surprise that Hillary Clinton was not tapped for this, but who has been nominated has the finacnial world turned up on it's ear.
Who is it? Well, his name is Jim Yong Kim. Ummm... come again... who? Yeah, didn't think you had heard of him either.
It appears that Mr. Kim is the president of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. (For those of you who do not know of the college, it is a very upscale
private college chocked full of the extremely intelligent set.) Ahhh, OK you say so the man at least has some good solid think tank background.
Yep...in medicine. Mr. Kim was also the head of the WHO's HIV/AIDS division up until the time he took the position as president at Dartmouth. In order
words, one of the most influential banks is now going to be head up by a Dr. of medicine. Am I the only one that finds this a bit...well.. strange?
In a world where banks who operate on a global scale are being so incredibly mismanaged, our President sees benefit in placing a man who has no
financial background to speak of into a position of extreme power? I am extremely uncomfortable with this move. To put a man into this position who
has no real track record in the global financial realm is not the smartest move I've ever seen in my opinion. Maybe it it just me, I don't know.
I found it interesting as well the other 2 people mentioned having been in the running for this postition. The Finance Minister for the country of
Nigeria, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Jeffrey Sachs, a development economist from Columbia University.
Two things of interesting note about the Nigerian Finance Minister.
1. Since it's creation in the 1940's, the World Bank has traditionally been headed by an American and traditionally as well the IMF (essentially the
WB's twin brother in Europe) has been headed by someone other than an American. These are not mandates mind you, just by tradition how it's been done.
Breaking with tradition can be a good thing at times I think but I find it odd that 'now' a foreign finance minister should have been considered for
the job. At least he has some knowledge on big financial dealings.... more so than a Dr. with little financial dealings.
2. The African connection. Now, this may not be obvious to some who have not bothered to delve into the whole mess of politics going on in Africa at
the moment (the last several decades actually). To be honest I knew little myself until the whole Kony2012 thing came to light and I started looking
deeper into the situation as a whole. It seems that Africa is very rich in mineral depostits, the very same mineral deposits that the rest of the
world has been trying to extract (read exploit) from countries like Uganda for a long time. If this nomination had gone through it would have been a
political move on the part of the US, pure and simple. Do we have a 'presence' in Africa just for this kind of exploitation? Of course we do, as does
China and a whole host of others. But having the Nigerian Finance Minister sitting at the head of World Bank would prove rather cushy should tensions
increase. He would almost certainly have some pull in other African nations, possibly giving the US an advantage over the rest of the world by
providng a launching point of any military action in the area as well as some dipolmatic advantages as well.
The other gentleman, Jeffrey Sachs, I honestly know little about. However, the fact that he is someone of importance in another highly regarded
learning institution in the area of high end finances would still put me at greater ease. Even for being a relative nobody as far as the general
public goes, I can accept that if he has better qualifications for the job.
So you can see and perhaps understand better now, just why this nomination of Mr. Kim stumps me. I see no benefit. But I suppose time will tell, maybe
just what we need is someone with little knowledge and big ideas to step in and give the global financial banking institutions a swift kick in the
pants to shake things up a bit.
edit on 24-3-2012 by MyMindIsMyOwn because: spelling correction in thread title