Wednesday, 18 April 2012 20:57

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala's World Bank Candidacy: A challenge to the status Quo? Yes but Not quite so !!!! Lesson Learned

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Presidency to World bank?    I think it goes beyond merits .... and seemingly this process is, it's quite a learning curve for us all especially for folks from the continental Africa.  It is  indeed, very sad, that despite all  effort to showcase our talents , we are been sidetracked, deprived  beaten to it  over and over again.

Personally, I have great respect for Dr. Ngozi okonjo-Iweala as I have met with her on various interactions, quite number of times, the latest encounter with her was at Banking Reform Forum at Ritz Hotel in Washington DC,  she as always, well composed, shouldered an expert  mints on global economic issues and I have no doubt in my mind that she will serve best of interest for that global entity called World Bank.  Alas, what people don't know is that the position for World Bank presidency is not and will never be based on  sheer merits, but a strategic clandestine political one, it will be ever be  based on intense capital politico - card expenditure coupled with extremely muscled shareholding influence, as a saying goes, "you can't withdraw from a bank if you do not deposit into it".

As  Africans , we need to put our house in order first, and for a starter, African Development Bank for African Union  there is,  that will evidently  culminate that effort....  you bet so much is going on there given OECD reports,  and one would be a fool to think that Nigeria's violability did not play its role too. This current World Bank Presidency tuft process has shown us, the true ego centrists- American way of handling global Affairs, be it Obama or Bush empire. It is always the same doctrine. Average American are patriots, and here are some new science for Nigerians to explore, Americans always believe in Americans " what's in it for me first as an American" should we rather spend our  moral capital worth within our own marketplace where we have an absolute control and interest, than in somewhere else where we can't predict our revenue payback but only the cost or the unforeseeable outcome

As Okonjo-Iweala aptly put it,

"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."

Without mincing words, she called it out clear and steadily with high eloquence but average world bank experts are concerned with

The fact here is that it is as open as it get , it will and cannot get more opener than it gets as long as America remains the enabler , driver and major contributor to the World Bank residue... let's be real. George Bush was not made President of United States Of America because he was the most intelligent man in America neither was President Obama but both have a distinct quality that brought them to power.

There was never really a contest and Dr. Iweala knows it, Africa and some developing countries probably figured this out and put up a strong candidate to em brass the west, hoping this will lead to a more open process in the future. We can't bet on it. Americans hold 19% of World bank overtures, the highest stakeholder of World bank, follow by Europe and Japan, Africa only have less than 5% of the vote.

The west won't give up its hold over these institutions until they need something from the emerging markets.

No doubt , that lack of political instinct has damaged Okonjo-Iweala's chances. let's be more frantic. People don't like to be caught unawares. Where the US has such a major stake, this is something that clearly should have to be negotiated behind closed doors first. That is the golden rule in the boardroom or in politics.The Obama administration would almost certainly have withheld support for Lagarde's appointment to the IMF if European nations had not agreed in advance to support whomever was Washington's candidate for the World Bank .

So the Question is why Dr. Kim Yung not our own beautiful, intelligent, experienced Dr. Ngozi Iweala? Here are some insights !!!!

Kim's selection marks a break from previous World Bank leaders who were typically political, legal or economic figures.

The World Bank raises money from its member nations and borrows from investors to provide low-cost loans to developing countries.

But picking a new World Bank head is a little like picking a new Pope. The process isn't just about the individual candidates for the position, but about the overall direction of the faith. And so, the controversy over Kim's nomination is not really about Kim himself. It's a debate about a philosophical schism in the development community.

The original idea of development really gained strength with the de-colonialization that followed World War II in Asia and later in Africa. Just as objects in nature go through a process of development to achieve their full potential — acorns become oaks, tadpoles become frogs, human embryos become people — the idea was that newly sovereign states would experience a historical process whereby India would become Britain, Korea would become Japan, and Cote d'Ivoire would become France.

It was thought that this process, which is now known as national development, would involve the natural replication of the four-fold historical transformation of the developed nation-states: Economies would become more productive and hence support broad-based prosperity, polities would become more fully responsive to their citizens,administration would become more capable, and societies would become more equal as birth-based distinctions (such as class and caste) and divisive identities (of kith and clan) faded in favor of modern social relationships. Note that each of these was something that would happen not just to individuals but to a country.

Indeed, an article of faith was that the development of the nation-state was the best and most effective route to promote the development of individuals. It was assumed that the best way for Kenyans (or Haitians or any other national group) to develop as individuals was for Kenya (or Haiti or any other country) to develop as an economy, polity, administration, and society.

Of course, within the fold of the development faithful, there have been plenty of conflicting opinions about how to carry out this agenda. For instance, there have been debates about the sequencing of the four dimensions. Some have argued that economic growth needs to precede democratization, others that democratization is instrumental to economic growth and should come first. These debates have been heated and vociferous and often ideologically charged; but all have been within a shared understanding that the goal was national development.

This philosophy has had some spectacular successes. South Korea has moved from a basket case in 1962 to a fully developed nation-state — prosperous and democratic — in record time. Chile, after some tumultuous and violent periods of authoritarian government, has now arrived as a developed nation-state. National development has also seen some abject failures in which none of the four transitions have happened: Somalia, where the post-independence national development project has ended in anarchy and violence, is probably the most obvious example. And, in many other countries around the world, one or more of the four dimensions of national development have been painfully slow — sometimes economic growth but without democracy or freedom (as in Myanmar), sometimes democracy without economic growth, sometimes economic growth and forms of democracy but without an effective state (as in Pakistan).

But throughout this time there has been another side to the development world: one that is less interested in national development and more interested in humane development. (I say "humane" development to distinguish from "human development," which is an integral component of national development.) These are the people, often supported by philanthropy, who step into the breach where national development has failed. These idealists and the organizations they run have helped to mitigate famines, pandemics, poverty, violence, and lawlessness in some of the poorest areas in the world.

Nearly everyone understands that humane development, while terrific and noble and important work, is not the same as national development. Famine relief is a holding action not an agricultural strategy. Refugee camps during periods of violence are needed, but they do not constitute a housing strategy. Earthquake re-building is not an infrastructure strategy. This is not to denigrate those efforts, which draw on the dedication of some of the most heroic people on the planet. But these people recognize that their humane work is palliative and the need for it shrinks when national development happens.

Which brings us back to the leadership of the World Bank. As a medical doctor who has devoted himself to mitigating the consequences of poverty in places like Haiti and Rwanda and the slums and highlands of Peru, Jim Young Kim is from the world of humane development. But the World Bank is fundamentally an organization devoted to national development, especially the economic component of that process. As a result, his appointment appears to be an intrusion by the world of humane development into one of the core institutions of national development. By contrast, the nominee backed by many African countries, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been finance minister of Nigeria and a managing director of the World Bank. In other words, she is from the world of national development, rather than the world of humane development. What has shocked the development world is that President Obama did not seem to know the difference.

The new World Bank president must overcome concerns about the legitimacy of the leadership selection process even as he tackles three key problems.

First, he must lead the Bank in creating new instruments to respond to common global problems, such as drug resistance, fisheries collapse and climate change. Country loans and grants – the Bank's main product – are not well suited to these cross-border problems.

Second, he must reduce the hassle costs for middle-income countries that would welcome the Bank's expertise but are discouraged from borrowing by long delays between loan requests and disbursements. This means streamlining procedures and treating borrowing countries more like clients taking on risks and responsibilities, and less like children.

The reality of investment and development in large-scale projects in the less developed world is that it requires both extensive and hard-headed experience in the field. However, it also demands leadership and diplomatic skills in the rough and tumble of the financial management of a globally oriented multi-billion dollar enterprise. It is doubtful that even Dr. Kim would view himself as qualified under those requisites.

Finally, the new president needs to lead the bank in finding better ways to help fragile and weak states, like Somalia, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Timor-Leste. The World Bank needs to shift from a culture that feels it must pretend it knows what to do to a culture of trying, failing, adjusting and trying again. To build a consensus around solutions to these problems, the new president could appoint high-level groups to study each problem and present proposed solutions to the World Bank board for discussion, modification, and eventual approval. Here is my candid question to the "New World Bank President "

"Can you give us just one example where the Bank's structural adjustment policies have worked?' the answer is none !!!! Absolutely , NONE !!!!!

Jim Kim may be brilliant. He may be perceptive of the world's needs. But he is not qualified to be the leader of the World Bank Group. And neither is anyone else who believes GDP growth and corporate profits work against socio-economic well-being.

Just a thought !!!!

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Akin Awofolaju Ph.D

As a corporate executive with extensive fortune 100 corporate background both in personal and corporate business. Dr Awofolaju is a governance, risk  management and compliance guru, managed many organizations in leadership capacity. His company is one of the leading Leadership Business Development, Strategic Programs in Tri States Area. He is an American Board Certified Financial Forensic Examiner, American Board Certified Executive Leadership Development educator, American Board Certified Strategy Planner and also a Strategic Thinking Expert. An Applied Economist (Regional Development Economics)- PhD

He has been a top ranked Human Capital Engineering Business Resources & Leadership Development for executive educational industries in NY/NJ Regions for three consecutive years and also leadership development expert for the fortune 100 companies where he worked as an award winning leadership professional with over 17 years of management experience, demonstrated analytical skills. Dr. Awofolaju is a member of over twenty professional bodies amongst which are the American Association of Financial Forensic Fraud Examiners, the Nigerian Institute of Management, American Economic Association, and International Research for Income & Wealth, etc Author, a prolific writer and columnist on contemporary issues.

Dr Awofolaju is a motivator and mentor with a collaborative, entrepreneurial management style with expertise in translating the big picture into specific business leadership strategies. Dr Awofolaju was a leading Corporate Executive (New York/New Jersey regions) for Verizon Wireless Telecommunication Company in America, where he worked for over 10 years before he started his own company. Dr Awofolaju managed team of senior-level managers, and for his entire career there he was the top performer in his region, as well as nationally. As a management expert, he has broken many sales and marketing records with several awards and recognitions and also attended Advanced Program at Harvard University Business School & Cornell University   graduated from S.C Johnson Postgraduate Business School in Executive Leadership Development & Strategic Thinking/Planning. 

He has spent a significant amount of time in continuous personnel leadership development of his team as their team leader. Dr Awofolaju also managed over 500 high-performance driven  team that generated over 450 millions of dollars  in mergers & acquisitions when he worked as Regional Account Executive for British Petroleum Company for Tri- States ( PA/NJ/NY) - 1999 -2001. His strengths are his motivational and mentoring skills. A keen listener and creative thinker, Dr Awofolaju has been a consultant for individuals and businesses since 1991. He managed European financial powerhouse as President/CEO - Bayland Investments Company in Eastern Europe (1991- 1999), he discovered executive keen interest in his experience and insight into maximizing peak performance. 

Dr Awofolaju developed the leadership development & training program that unleashes potential of individuals or organization value adding by opening up creativity and recharging passion requisites for consistently perform at their best. Dr Awofolaju's focus resonates with others because it sheds light on why people do not perform to their potential even when they're talented and committed. Dr Awofolaju works with various CEO's, corporate executives be it in Wall Street, business professionals to athletes – professional basketball players. Dr Awofolaju’s wide range of clients illustrates how anyone can benefit from performance coaching. He makes you to better maximizing your potentials, it is everyday for greater results. Dr Akin Awofolaju has been a consultant for individuals and businesses since 1991, when he discovered executives' keen interest in his experience and insight into achieving peak performance.


Chairman : State & Local Government  Nigerians in Diaspora: Nigeria Constitution Review Commitee  
Honoree: Top 50 Nigerians in US/Canada commemorating 50yrs of Nigeria Independence @ United Nations -New York, NY -USA
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Steering Committee Member: Nigeria In Diaspora Constitution Review Committee ( 1999 Consistitution Amendment Committee)
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Member: Nigeria Global Forum - USA
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