Choosing a World Bank President

washingtonpost.com Staff Reports
Wednesday, March 16, 2005; 2:08 PM

The 24 executive directors of the World Bank, who are appointed or elected by member countries, choose the bank president. The bank president is traditionally an American selected by the United States. A European is selected to head the International Monetary Fund, the other major international financial institution. However, neither the bank nor the IMF have formal selection rules dictating the nationality of the institutions’ heads.

Candidates for president are put forth by member states’ executive directors. Paul Wolfowitz would be the 10th World Bank president. The president serves an initial five-year term which may be renewed by the executive directors for five years, or less, with no limit to the number of terms.

World Bank Building Headquarters
World Bank Building Headquarters
The World Bank headquarters in Washington is located three blocks from the White House. (Lauren Burke - AP)

_____The World Bank_____
Office of the President
World Bank Home Page

In April, 2001, a World Bank working group recommended a new series of procedures to assist in selecting a president. The panel’s report called for an advisory group to help develop a list of qualifications and potential candidates. But the selection process by the executive directors was unchanged.

Comprising 184 member countries, the World Bank promotes economic development in impoverished and indebted countries by providing long-term financing and guidance for Bank-approved programs and projects.

The World Bank is composed of five closely associated organizations that pursue the same overarching goal of poverty reduction:

• The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) provides market-based loans to middle-income countries.

• The International Development Association (IDA) provides assistance to poorer countries, offering interest-free loans, technical assistance and policy advice.

• The International Finance Corporation (IFC) funds private-sector enterprises, providing technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.

• The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) helps encourage foreign investment.

• The International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) aids the settlement of investment disputes between foreign investors and nations.

The World Bank is funded principally by issuing debt on the international bond market, subscriptions of member countries and net earnings.

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