Gerry Rice (202) 473-1842
Damian Milverton (202) 473-6735
WASHINGTON, March 23, 2005—On March 21, a group of Executive Directors representing developing countries on the World Bank Board (G-11) met with Mr. Paul Wolfowitz, nominee of the United States Government for President of the World Bank. The meeting took place in the context of the consultative process that is under way between the various shareholders and the nominee, which is a welcome innovation in this selection process. The group, which comprised Executive Directors representing a total of 108 member countries, met Mr. Wolfowitz to elicit his views on issues of special concern to developing countries within the framework of the World Bank’s activities. These issues included the multilateralism of the institution in terms of governance principles, and the emphasis on the paramount role of economic considerations in the Bank’s work. Executive Directors also raised concerns about the pursuit of bilateral strategic issues through multilateral fora by some major shareholders.
With respect to the Bank’s operations, Executive Directors reiterated the crucial need to focus on poverty reduction and other Millennium Development Goals. Executive Directors also emphasized the critical role played by infrastructure investments and called for a strengthening of the Bank’s core business of providing financial support for development. They also pointed out the increasing financial and non-financial costs of doing business with the Bank.
In his response, Mr. Wolfowitz stated that the World Bank was a premier instrument for economic development and his aim would be to capitalize on this strength. He affirmed that he would be guided by corporate policies and consensus in the Board, should he be chosen as President of the Bank. Mr. Wolfowitz clarified that, in his view, poverty reduction and economic development were the core businesses of the Bank and he would not attempt to pursue any political agenda. He also stated that if he were to be given the responsibility to head the Bank, he would strive to enhance the contribution of the organization in the development of infrastructure in borrowing countries. He generally agreed with the priorities that had been set by Mr. Wolfensohn, especially in terms of investing in human capital through education and health, striking a balance between development and environmental concerns, and the emphasis on governance, transparency and accountability.
Having noted Mr. Wolfowitz’s remarks on a range of issues, Executive Directors of the G-11 countries are briefing their Governments and consulting with them on this nomination.