Amidst criticisms over a World Bank controversy that has sparked “great concern” in the international community, embattled President Paul Wolfowitz has held on to his post, showing no signs of stepping down. “This is important work, and I intend to continue it,” said Wolfowitz, who two years ago took on the leadership role at the Washington-based agency. He was accused last week of using his position to secure the contentious promotion of Shaha Riza, a close female friend. Following a public apology, he has faced pressures to resign and now awaits an executive board decision on his fate.
“We have to ensure that the Bank can effectively carry out its mandate and maintain its credibility and reputation as well as the motivation of its staff,” wrote the bank’s Development Committee. “We expect the Bank to adhere to a high standard of internal governance.”
Defenders who have rallied behind Wolfowitz include Canada and the U.S., as well as a group of poor nations like Pakistan and Liberia. “He has been a visionary,” said Liberian Finance Minister and former World Bank staffer Antoinette Sayeh.
Officials from the U.K., France, Germany and Japan, on the other hand, have expressed concern over the ramifications that the controversy has had on the bank?s credibility. “This whole business has damaged the bank and should not have happened,” said U.K. Development Minister Hilary Benn. Of particular danger is a possible pullout of contributions to the International Development Association, the bank’s discount-loan program, which is set to be replenished this year.
Source: Wolfowitz Digs In as Criticism Intensifies Within World Bank (Wall Street Journal)