Okonjo-Iweala sees Africa

Despite her defeat in the race for the Presidency of the World Bank, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, still claimed victory for Africa, saying her challenge has changed the age-long tradition concerning the process of choosing the head of the Bretton wood institution.

Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, in a statement title “WE HAVE MADE HISTORY” issued shortly after the United States candidate, Jim Yong Kim, was declared as the newly elected President of the World Bank, said “the credible and merit-based challenge to a long-standing and unfair tradition will ensure that the process would never be the same again.”
“I would like to congratulate Dr. Jim Yong Kim on his emergence as President of the World Bank Group,” Mrs. Okojo-Iweala, who is also the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and African candidate in the race, said.
“I look forward to working with him, staff and stakeholders of the World Bank Group for the benefit of poor people around the world. Their plight is at the heart of the mandate of the institution and we must never lose sight of that.
“With regard to the selection process, it is clear to me that we need to make it more open, transparent and merit-based. We need to make sure that we do not contribute to a democratic deficit in global governance.
“Nevertheless, by our participation we have won important victories. We have shown what is possible. Our credible and merit-based challenge to a long-standing and unfair tradition will ensure that the process of choosing a World Bank president will never be the same again. The struggle for greater equity and fairness has reached a critical point and the hands of the clock cannot be turned back.”
While also congratulating the former Columbian candidate and co-contestant, Jose Antonio Ocampo, “for being a worthy participant”, particularly for withdrawing from the race to support her candidacy, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala also thanked Nigeria and all African leaders for standing by her during the contest.
“I am proud of Africa for displaying great unity in supporting my candidacy,” she said. I am proud of my country Nigeria for standing by me. I want to thank all the African leaders, but particularly President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for his resolute support, along with other leaders- President Boni Yayi of Benin Republi, President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Chait of African Union, Jean Ping. Africa has stood for the right principles and throughout these processes. I am proud to be an African.
“It was a worthwhile battle. Now it is time to move on and contribute to the search for solutions to the many developmental challenges that confront the world.”
Also, in his victory statement, the new World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, who has gone down in history as the 12th American to occupy the office in the banks 70 years history, acknowledged the contributions of his former opponents in the race (Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala and Mr. Ocampo) to economic development, saying he looks forward to drawing from their expertise in his five-year tenure.
 “I am honored to accept the Executive Directors’ decision to select me as the next President of the World Bank Group,” he said. “I am delighted to succeed Robert Zoellick, who has served with excellence and distinction during the last five years, and I am grateful to the Bank’s member countries for the broad support I have received.
“I have spoken with Minister Okonjo-Iweala and Professor Ocampo.  They have both made important contributions to economic development, and I look forward to drawing on their expertise in the years to come.
He said as President, he would seek a new alignment of the World Bank Group with a rapidly changing world, adding that he would work together with old and new partners to build a responsive institution.
“Together, with partners old and new, we will foster an institution that responds effectively to the needs of its diverse clients and donors; delivers more powerful results to support sustained growth; prioritizes evidence-based solutions over ideology; amplifies the voices of developing countries; and draws on the expertise and experience of the people we serve,” he said.
He said his discussions with the Board and member countries point to a global consensus around the importance of inclusive growth, adding that the group is closer than ever to achieving the bank’s mission of a world that is free of poverty. 
“The power of this mission is matched by the talent of the World Bank Group staff,” he said. “May this shared mission embolden our efforts to end the disparities which too often diminish our shared humanity.  Let us work together to provide every woman and man with the opportunity to determine their own future.”

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