Why José Antonio Ocampo should be the next World Bank president

Is development economist and former Colombian finance minister Jose Antonio Ocampo “far and away the most qualified candidate to lead and reform the World Bank”?

Boston University professor Kevin Gallagher, among several others, thinks so

“He is a reformer, has managed major global institutions and national ministries, and is arguably one of the most noted development economists of our time,” Gallagher writes on the Guardian’s Poverty Matters blog.

Ocampo is currently a professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, where he also heads the economic and political development unit. This standing as a leading development economist is likely to earn him the respect of economists in the World Bank, Gallagher says.

His experience prior to joining the academe, meanwhile, boasts positions leading reform efforts in various global organizations, Gallagher notes. In 2009, Ocampo was tapped to join the Commission of Experts of the U.N. General Assembly on Reforms of the International and Financial System. He also served as U.N. undersecretary general for economic and social affairs from 2003 to 2007. He headed reform efforts at the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, which he led from 1998 to 2003. Before joining the United Nations, Ocampo held various positions within the Colombian government.

This background, Gallagher says, is key to leading a multilateral bank that needs reforms to effectively address the development challenges of the 21th century.

Ocampo, who was nominated by the Dominican Republic and Brazil, is up against U.S. nominee Jim Yong Kim and Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who is backed by several African countries. The World Bank executive board is expected to elect Robert Zoellick’s successor this month.

Who do you think should be the next World Bank president? Vote now in this week’s Devex Poll on Facebook.

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About the author

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.