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Four Comments and a Suggestion for the World Bank Board

Last week the World Bank Board closed the three-week window, announced in late August, for member countries to nominate candidates for the presidency of the World Bank. Jim Kim, the US nominee and incumbent since his election in 2012, was formally nominated by the United States at 12:01 a.m. at the opening bell, so to speak. He is the sole candidate in what appears to have been a kind of insider coup by the United States (called a “charade” in a World Bank Staff Association letter to its members) of the procedures agreed by World Bank members in 2011.

Memo to Jim Kim: Please Follow Results, Not Money

One of the biggest hopes people expressed about Jim Kim’s nomination to become president of the World Bank was that he would bring a fresh perspective, focused on achieving results, rather than reinforce the institution’s bureaucratic machinery. Unfortunately, President Kim’s recent remarks at the Center for Foreign Relations suggest that bureaucratic inertia is winning.

World Bank’s Flagging Leadership on Contract Transparency

Over the last few years, the World Bank has put a lot of thought and resources behind making contracting more transparent and to build up the capacity of citizens to get what they are paying for through government procurement.  The bank has designed and financed innovative community-driven projects that publish contracts, it has backed programs like the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative alongside Open Contracting, it has put together a powerful database of road costs based on World Bank contracts, and it has put out a lot more data on bank-financed contracts themselves.