Tags: Healing | Wounds | World | Bank | Not | Easy: | Zoellick

Healing Wounds at World Bank Not Easy: Zoellick

Monday, 18 June 2007 12:00 AM

BRASILIA -- Healing the wounds and conflicts at the World Bank will be a difficult task in the aftermath of an ethics scandal, Robert Zoellick, the bank's likely next president, said on Monday.

"My role as a potential CEO is to try to heal this institution, overcome some of the conflicts, the bruises, the wounding, the frustrations," Zoellick told a news conference in the Brazilian capital at the end of a two-week tour through Africa, Europe and Latin America.

"It's not going to be easy," he said. "There's a lot of build-up here."

Zoellick, a former U.S. Trade Representative and Deputy Secretary of State, was nominated by the United States to lead the bank after Paul Wolfowitz was forced to resign last month over a high-paying promotion for his companion that exposed deep unhappiness among bank staff.

"It's my hope that we can regain some momentum here by refocusing on the mission. The people (at the bank) are very committed to development," Zoellick said. But he added that "there needs to be some humility too because we've seen the failure of many grand ideas."

The bank's board is expected to confirm Zoellick in the post this week after a deadline for nominations expired last Friday, leaving him the sole candidate.

He would take over with the World Bank in the throes of raising funds for its lending programs and in need of broad support from donor countries, notably in Europe.

There was special concern within the bank that European nations might withhold funding for development projects during Wolfowitz's controversial tenure.

Several member countries, including Brazil, have also demanded greater transparency in the long-standing practice under which the United States picks the head of the bank and Europe chooses the leader of the International Monetary Fund.

Asked whether he would lead a review of the nomination process during his term, Zoellick said it would depend on the mandate of the bank's board.

"I'm not a country. It's up to the governors and the shareholders eventually to select the president. At this point, since I'm not even appointed, my role is really to try to reach out and to make the process as transparent as I can as a nominee," he said, adding he was pleased with the support he had received on his tour.

Zoellick met on Monday with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and four cabinet members, including Finance Minister Guido Mantega.

One of the World Bank's chores would be to improve the application of anti-corruption guidelines, not only by applying "sanctions" but building "transparency, better accounting, stronger governance," Zoellick said.

Several U.S. and European legislators have called on the World Bank to step up anti-corruption measures.

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BRASILIA -- Healing the wounds and conflicts at the World Bank will be a difficult task in the aftermath of an ethics scandal, Robert Zoellick, the bank's likely next president, said on Monday. "My role as a potential CEO is to try to heal this institution, overcome some...
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2007-00-18
Monday, 18 June 2007 12:00 AM
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