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CGD in the News

February 7, 2019

David Malpass, US nominee for World Bank president and long-time China hawk, ‘will continue to take part in trade talks’ (South China Morning Post)

From the article:

David Malpass, a China hawk who is US President Donald Trump’s nominee to become the World Bank’s new president, will continue to play a “very important part” in trade negotiations with Beijing, senior US administration officials said on Wednesday.

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Despite the continuity between the administration’s and Malpass’s positions on the World Bank, his nomination has elicited strong opposition from some observers, who view him as a threat to multilateralism.

“An incorrigible arsonist will now be our fire chief,” tweeted W. Gyude Moore, Liberia’s former minister of public works. “Man spends his adult life denigrating multilateralism and now has the ‘pleasure’ of running one of its pillars.”

“David Malpass is a Trump loyalist who has committed economic malpractice on a wide range of topics, from dismissing the first signs of the 2008 global financial crisis to flirting with the abolition of the IMF,” Justin Sandefur, senior fellow at the Centre for Global Development, said in a statement.

Malpass also served as chief economist at the now-defunct investment bank Bear Stearns, which collapsed during the 2008 financial crisis. Seven months previously, he had written a commentary for The Wall Street Journal titled “Don't Panic About the Credit Market” that played down indications of the looming financial disaster.

“There is no case for Malpass on merit,” Sandefur said. “The question now is whether other nations represented on the World Bank’s board of governors will let the Trump administration undermine a key global institution.”

 

February 6, 2019

Trump pick sets up fight over World Bank (The Hill)

From the article:

President Trump’s pick to lead the World Bank could spark an unprecedented battle over the future of the multinational lender.

Trump is set to nominate Treasury Under Secretary David Malpass — a fierce critic of the World Bank — to serve as its next president, spurring concern within the development finance world.

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“There is no case for Malpass on merit. The question now is whether other nations represented on the World Bank’s board of governors will let the Trump administration undermine a key global institution,” said Justin Sandefur, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development.

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Several leading development finance officials, including past candidates for the World Bank presidency, have already called on the board to oppose Malpass and break the tradition of American leaders.

Sandefur called Malpass “a Trump loyalist who has committed economic malpractice on a wide range of topics,” including in the lead-up to the 2008 financial crisis.

February 6, 2019

Who is Trump's World Bank president pick David Malpass? (BBC)

From the article:

So who is David Malpass, and what opinions does he hold?

Mr Malpass, a Trump loyalist, was a senior economic adviser to the US president during his 2016 election campaign.

The 62-year-old has criticised the World Bank in the past, along with other institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, for being "intrusive" and "entrenched".

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Justin Sandefur, a senior fellow with the Center for Global Development, said the nomination of Mr Malpass showed that the Trump administration was trying to undermine a key global institution, and urged other countries to nominate alternative candidates.

"They have a choice. It's a simple majority vote, the US has no veto in this election and there are many better candidates," Mr Sandefur said.

February 6, 2019

Trump Is Expected To Name Outspoken Critic To Head World Bank (NPR)

From the article:

President Trump is expected to nominate Treasury Department official David Malpass, a vocal critic of the World Bank, to head the international financial institution later today.

Malpass, 62, is a conservative with longstanding ties to Trump. He once worked as chief economist at investment bank Bear Stearns, which collapsed in 2008 in the midst of the financial crisis. He also served in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.

If approved by the countries that control the World Bank's governing board, which is considered likely, Malpass would replace Jim Yong Kim, who resigned in January before his term had ended.

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The naming of Malpass is already generating outrage among some political critics and members of the international development community.

"David Malpass is a Trump loyalist who has committed economic malpractice on a wide range of topics," said Justin Sandefur, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. "There is no case for Malpass on merit."

February 5, 2019

Trump’s World Bank-hating pick for World Bank president, explained (Vox)

From the article:

President Donald Trump will select David Malpass, currently the undersecretary of treasury for international affairs, as the US nominee to lead the World Bank, the Washington Post and Politico have reported.

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Justin Sandefur, an economist at the Center for Global Development, an influential think tank working on global poverty and development, put out a statement arguing that other World Bank stakeholders should attempt to block Trump’s pick. While the US has traditionally chosen the World Bank head, formally the position is selected through a vote of bank shareholders, and other countries could indeed band together to reject Malpass.

@JustinSandefur on the US's nominee for @WorldBank president - view Tweet here

W. Gyude Moore, the former minister of public works for Liberia (and thus someone with deep experience in one of the developing countries where the World Bank is most needed), compared nominating him to nominating an arsonist to be a fire chief.

“An incorrigible arsonist will now be our fire chief. Man spends his adult life denigrating multilateralism and now has the "pleasure" of running one of it's pillars. When does it end?" - view Tweet here

February 5, 2019

Trump pick for World Bank chief spent years criticizing its mission (Washington Post)

From the article:

Even before his nomination has been publicly confirmed, David Malpass, President Trump’s pick to run the World Bank, faces mounting attacks on his competence and support for the bank’s mission.

Malpass, undersecretary of the treasury for international affairs, is an outspoken critic of the bank and its sister organization, the International Monetary Fund. The president plans to nominate the former Wall Street economist to head the bank, a pillar of the global order that Trump opposes, as soon as Wednesday.

The appointment will likelytrigger another clash between Trump’s “America First” views and the decades-old consensus over management of the global economy. Since 1944, when international financial institutions were created near the end of World War II, the U.S. has selected the bank’s president while European countries have controlled the top IMF job.

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“Trump poses a unique threat to the international system. He’s nominating somebody, not just of dubious qualifications, but somebody who is committed to undermining the multilateral mission of the bank,” said Justin Sandefur, a senior fellow at the center for Global Development.

February 4, 2019

Trump to choose Treasury's Malpass to lead World Bank: sources (Reuters)

From the article:

WASHINGTON, Feb 4 (Reuters) - The Trump administration has notified World Bank shareholders that President Donald Trump intends to pick senior Treasury Department official David Malpass as the U.S. nominee to lead the development lender, people familiar with the decision said on Monday.

The nomination of Malpass would put a Trump loyalist and a skeptic of multilateral institutions in line to lead the World Bank, which committed nearly $64 billion to developing countries in the year ended June 30, 2018.

Politico, which first reported the decision, said it would be announced on Wednesday, citing unidentified administration officials.

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Justin Sandefur, a senior fellow with the Center for Global Development, said the choice showed that the Trump administration was trying to undermine a key global institution and urged other countries to nominate alternative candidates.

“They have a choice. It’s a simple majority vote, the U.S. has no veto in this election and there are many better candidates,” Sandefur said in an emailed statement.

The World Bank will accept nominations from Thursday through March 14 and up to three candidates could advance to a board vote.

Picked up by CNBC

February 4, 2019

World Bank Critic Is Nominee to Lead Lender (The Wall Street Journal)

From the article:

WASHINGTON—President Trump will nominate David Malpass, one of the World Bank’s sharpest critics within his administration, to be the next leader of the bank.

The president will formally announce Mr. Malpass as the American nominee to lead the world’s largest development bank on Wednesday, according to administration officials.

As the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for international affairs, Mr. Malpass has attracted attention for his criticism of the World Bank, especially over its lending to China. He has argued the country has become wealthy enough that it no longer needs to borrow from the World Bank. Mr. Malpass has also been part of the U.S. team negotiating trade with China.

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“David Malpass is a Trump loyalist who has committed economic malpractice on a wide range of topics, from dismissing the first signs of the 2008 global financial crisis to flirting with the abolition of the IMF,” said Justin Sandefur, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, a think tank focused on global poverty. “The question now is whether other nations represented on the World Bank’s board of governors will let the Trump administration undermine a key global institution.”

November 27, 2018

All that is wrong with Modi govt’s obsession with Ease of Doing Business rankings (The Print)

By Sanjay G. Reddy

From the article:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given great personal attention to the importance of improving India’s position in the World Bank’s global ranking of the Ease of Doing Business.

India’s rank has improved from 142 in the 2014 ranking to 100 last year and to 77 this year.

The idea that India’s position in the rankings has improved due to the government’s implementation of significant economic policy reforms enhancing the business environment is, however, an exaggeration.

The indicators used in Ease of Doing Business rankings capture the “regulatory environment for business” in a country including the extent of red tape involved in starting or running a business and the protection of selected property rights.

In any case, as shown early this year by the Washington based Center for Global Development, the change in India’s ranking in the two years owes much more to shifts in the methods used by the World Bank than to any actual change in the performance of the country in the underlying indicators. Moreover, because countries’ scores are quite close to each other, small changes can bring about large shifts in rank. It appears that the government has also gone to unusual lengths both to lobby the World Bank to change its method of calculation and to bring about minor, but very specifically targeted, changes in regulations so as to improve India’s performance. For instance, it has required that exporters seal their own containers, despite the industry seeking slower implementation of this new policy.

Read the full article here.

 

November 15, 2018

In poor countries technology can make big improvements to education (The Economist)

By The Economist

From the article:

At kicoshep school in Kibera, a vast Nairobi slum, Grade 3 is learning English. The teacher, Jacinter Atieno, asks questions about a story on the exploitation of children as domestic servants. At the back of the class, a coach logs information about Mrs Atieno’s performance into a tablet. Halfway through the class, the coach summons three children and tests their reading. The scores go into the tablet, which then makes suggestions—that, say, Mrs Atieno might watch one of its instructional videos, or improve her English pronunciation with its letter-sound tool. The information is uploaded to the county office that runs the local schools, and can be reviewed by the teachers’ bosses there.

The big problem is teachers: often too few, too ignorant—or simply not there. Unannounced visits to classes across seven sub-Saharan African countries by the World Bank found that in nearly half of them, the teacher was absent. Many teachers who do turn up are startlingly underqualified. In Bihar in northern India, for instance, only 11% of government-school teachers could solve a three-digit by one-digit division problem, and show the steps by which to do it.

Paying teachers more is not likely to improve the situation. As research by Justin Sandefur of the Centre for Global Development shows, poor-country teachers tend to be remarkably well-paid, by local standards (see chart). And evidence from countries as diverse as Indonesia and Pakistan suggests that teachers’ pay levels have little impact on learning. Ideally, governments would invest in training teachers properly and promote or fire them on the basis of their performance. But the first of these ambitions requires levels of governance lacking in many developing countries, and a time-horizon beyond that of many elected governments. The second is often politically unrealistic: teachers’ unions can be exceedingly powerful outfits for a range of reasons—including that polling stations are often located in schools and run by teachers.

Read the full article here.

 

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