Brazil urged the World Bank on Wednesday to give proper consideration to developing country candidates to replace outgoing president Robert Zoellick and not just go with an American.
“There is no reason that the president of the World Bank is a specific nationality. It should just be someone competent and capable,” Finance Minister Guido Mantega said, pushing for an end to the 65-year tradition.
“Our goal is that emerging countries have the same chance to compete to lead these multilateral organizations.”
“I believe that the United States will continue to insist that it will be one of its representatives,” he said. “We are working so that that does not happen.”
Zoellick said he would step down at the end of his five-year term in late June, setting up a possible new fight over US dominance at the global development lender.
Washington immediately said it will nominate a candidate to succeed Zoellick.
Brazil has been critical of the standing arrangement since 1945 that Europe’s powers choose the head of the International Monetary Fund while the US selects the World Bank president.
The position leading the Bank is powerful, managing a huge operation and staff of 10,000 which aims to help countries and people out of poverty but also, through its massive financial resources, is able to set development and social priorities around the world.
In its fiscal year to June 2011, the bank made $26.7 billion in funding commitments.
Brazil is a member of the BRICS club of emerging powers — along with Russia, India, China, and South Africa — that are seeking greater influence within multilateral financial institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank, which are both based in Washington.