Jim Yong Kim’s surprise resignation from the World Bank this week could lead the way for a battle of succession.
In a tradition that began at the 1944 Bretton Woods conference, the leaders of two of the main bodies of global governance, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are always respectively American and European.
But this tradition has been the source of the occasional political flare up as developing nations have grown in economic influence. The World Bank has well over 100 member states, so why should the leadership always fall to an American?
Because they are the largest shareholder is the brutal realpolitik.
So could a New Zealander ever be a candidate?
Former prime minister Sir John Key was at one point rumoured to be tipped as IMF head, and Helen Clark was widely thought to be a strong contender for the UN secretary general role, before former Portuguese prime minister António Guterres got the job.
Christine Lagarde at the IMF may be the exception but women have not traditionally been given these roles, either. Clark’s defeat was seen by many as a glass ceiling situation.
Thirkell-White said “[John Key] wouldn’t be my choice because its a development role more than a finance role. Helen Clark would be a better fit, but traditionally the bank has liked people more economist than Helen Clark. I would pretty surprised if either of them were nominated.”
Stuff asked both Key and Clark if they were considering a run at the role, if nominated. Key said that he was very happy with his current roles and will not be putting his name forward. Clark has not responded.
Key would have no interest in the job. Clark would love it I suspect. It is basically a development agency, like UNDP was.
Will Jacinda write to Donald Trump asking him to consider Helen?