Reports have it that Ethiopian Prime Minister, Mr. Meles Zenawi while chairing the opening session of the Africa Union/UNECA Joint meeting of African Finance ministers, Economy and Planning in Addis Ababa, enjoined all African countries to support the candidature of Okonjo-Iweala.
He said “I endorsed and recommended of Okonjo-Iweala’s candidature for the World Bank Presidency and I urge African countries to support her for positive global economic changes.”
Addressing the media on the update of the situation in Abuja, the Minister who touched down from Abidjan, said that her candidature has been endorsed by African countries as well as sub-regional bodies of the continent, thereby making her the continent’s candidate.
According to a visibly excited Okonjo-Iweala, the whole continent is with her and it has shown willingness to support her to the end.
Reacting to the question on what she is bringing on board, she affirmed, “First of all, let me say that I think that given the opportunity I think you need advantages of knowing the strength and weaknesses of knowing the institution as well as being somebody who’s actually managed a complex economy in a developing country.
“With that, my vision for the World Bank as an institution is swifter and nimbler in terms tackling what I consider the key singular most difficult problems confronting both developing and emerging market countries today, which is job creation particularly for youths.
“The World Bank has the ability to combine the strength of the World Bank Group, the IFC in terms of bringing to bear all the instruments to help developing countries to solve this problem and by creating an environment in which the private sector can be the creator of jobs.
“If we do not tackle this problem of youth unemployment in many of our countries, you can look forward to many more springs, it may not be only the Arab springs, it may be a different type of spring. So, we need an institution that can deploy both financial instrument and knowledge to tackle problems of both human and physical infrastructure that is confronting many countries today,” she stated.
On what will happen to the on-going economic reforms of the Federal government should she be given the World Bank job, Okonjo-Iweala stressed that there are other members of the team who are capable of handling the process and see it to fruition.
On her feelings of the candidate of the USA, she said the shareholders of the bank have opened the process to transparency, adding that with a level playing field guaranteed, she stands a chance to clinch the job.
Okonjo-Iweala, 57, was nominated last Friday by African power houses Nigeria, South Africa and Angola to lead the poverty fighting institution when its current president, Robert Zoellick steps down in June.
She is contesting the post with Jim Yong Kim, a South Korean-American health expert nominated by US president Barrack Obama.
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