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Oxfam calls for next World Bank president to be appointed on merit

Following today's announcement by World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz that he will resign next month, international development agency Oxfam is calling for the next leader to be chosen in a properly accountable manner.

"Wolfowitz's resignation shows that even the office of the president has to play by the rules. The US and other rich countries must now show that they are serious about good governance by allowing the next head of the Bank to be appointed based on merit through an open accountable process," said Bernice Romero, advocacy director of Oxfam International.

"The current unjust arrangement by which the US gets to appoint the head of the World Bank and the Europeans pick the head of the IMF has to end. For the Bank to be an effective international institution, the next president must be genuinely accountable to all countries, not just the most powerful, as the Bank’s own staff has made clear."

To date, the US has been able to pick the president of the Bank, without consulting other member nations, while European governments are able to select the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This system disempowers poor countries, the main clients of the Bank and the IMF.

"This affair has been hugely damaging to the credibility of the Bank, and it's vital that the organisation quickly pulls its focus back onto poverty reduction," said Romero.

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