Voice: Lin Yifu, ideal candidate for World Bank head

By Wang Zhiyong
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, April 1, 2012
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Justin Yifu Lin, current vice president of the World Bank. 

"As the World Bank's main purpose serves to support developing countries, the structures of the European-dominated IMF and America-controlled World Bank need to be changed. Chinese Justin Yifu Lin, current vice president of the World Bank, is an ideal candidate for WB President," Prof. David Li Daokui has stated during the current Boao Forum on April 1, 2012 on China's Hainan Island. [Related reading: China can make World Bank truly global]

Prof. Li is the director of the Center for China in the World Economy (CCWE) at Tsinghua University, and also the Mansfield Freeman Professor of Economics. Earlier in March, he left his position as a member of an academic trio advising Chinese central bank's Monetary Policy Committee.

Justin Yifu Lin, a former Taiwan Army captain who swam to the mainland in 1979, has been the World Bank's Chief Economist and Senior Vice President since June 2008. He received a PhD in Economics from the University of Chicago in 1986.

He serves as a consultant to major international organizations and is on the editorial board of several international academic economics journals. He was elected a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy in 2010.

The World Bank said "Dr. Lin is currently working on an ambitious research program that examines the industrialization of rapidly developing countries and sheds new light on the causes of lagging growth in poor regions."

"The world is changing. Today the world's major growth impetus comes from developing countries and the overall economic weight of developing countries has been basically surpassing that of developed countries. This is a historical trend," Prof. Li said.

"The most suitable person to head the World Bank should not be judged on basis of his home country but on that of his personal capabilities," Prof. Li said.

He doesn't think Jim Yong Kim, a health expert, is suitable to take on the position of World Bank leader.

"At the same time, a candidate's background is an important part of his qualifications. If a candidate's career and life experiences have been only based on those gained in a developed country, how then can he understand the basic problems of poor countries?" Li asked.

"Finally, we also have to acknowledge that China has a very suitable candidate; Dr. Justin Lin Yifu has worked at the World Bank for nearly four years, doing an outstanding job as well. Not only does he understand the problems of developing countries from a well-founded academic point of view, but he also has direct management experience in the World Bank," said Li.

For the first time, the World Bank is considering more than one candidate for its five-year presidency: Jim Yong Kim of Dartmouth College, expected to head the bank; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's Minister of Finance; and Jose Aantonio Ocampo, the former Colombian Minister of Finance.

Experts say that victory is all but assured for American nominee, Jim Yong Kim, the President of Dartmouth College and an expert on global health issues. Over the coming weeks, the World Bank's 25-member board will interview all three candidates and plans to announce its new president by the time of the IMF-World Bank meetings in mid-April.

In October 2011, the international community began discussing who would become the next World Bank President as it was unlikely that current President Robert Zoellick would be re-elected. The reason for this was that the Senior Republican official would struggle to get the recommendation of the Democratic Party President Barack Obama.

On February 15, Zoellick formally announced that he would not stand for re-election.

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