5. Institute a meritocracy, starting with yourself
Although Jim Yong Kim's selection as World Bank president was nominally contested, the opaque and essentially non-competitive process of appointing the U.S. nominee to the post is outdated and counterproductive. While the system may have been justified when Washington was the main supplier of the bank's capital, that time has passed.
An open election for the World Bank presidency would give the victor a clear mandate to implement his vision for how the bank ought to operate. For true development to be implemented and sustained, change must occur within each country and, ultimately, within the hearts and minds of its people. Without a say in who leads the institution, developing countries and their citizens are more likely to resist the type of radical change that is necessary to actually make eradicating poverty possible. One suggestion that Kim should consider is to implement voting structures in the World Bank that mirror those of regional development banks, in which the outcome of votes is determined by the majority if countries as opposed to simply the largest stakeholders.
When he was interviewed for the position, Kim told the World Bank executive board that he is someone "who asks hard questions about the status quo and is not afraid to challenge existing orthodoxies." As he takes over a loan portfolio of over $250 billion, he'll have to upset the status quo to fulfill the World Bank's goals. An institution predicated on economic growth does not easily shake its focus, an institution working with cash does not easily abandon it, and an institution that derives legitimacy from state power does not easily confront it. Kim is the first person of color and non-economist to head the 68-year-old institution. Let's hope that he's ready to break a few more molds.
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