Saturday, April 21, 2007

Ghani to Replace Wolfowitz?

Ashraf Ghani, the former Afghan contender for the job as UN Secretary General is now in play again - this time as the US candidate to replace Wolfowitz as chief of the World Bank. Having the US's support is the surefire way to get the job as the US traditionally decides who gets the WB top post, while the Europeans in practice appoint the IMF boss. Here from The Australian:
THE future of World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz was in further jeopardy yesterday after it emerged the White House was drawing up a list of candidates to succeed him. The most prominent potential replacement is Ashraf Ghani, credited with overhauling the economy of Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US. Such an appointment would mark the first time a non-American has held the position in the 60-year history of the global bank. Senior officials in the US administration have noted that the White House is softening its support for Mr Wolfowitz, President George W.Bush's former deputy defence secretary. They pointed yesterday to the silence of the Treasury Department and Henry Paulson, the Treasury secretary, as a sign of the administration's attempt to distance itself from the man it parachuted into the job in 2005. (...)

Mr Ghani was special adviser to the World Bank between 1991 and 2002. After the overthrow of the Taliban, he was Afghan finance minister for two years, carrying out extensive reforms, including issuing a new currency, balancing the budget and overhauling the Treasury's systems. Currently Chancellor of Kabul University, he was a candidate to replace Kofi Annan as UN secretary-general last year but lost out to Ban Ki-moon, of South Korea. Mr Ghani was described then as someone with a strong record as an administrator. As well as the first non-American chief of the World Bank, he would also be the first Muslim in the job.

Draconian Observations strongly supported Ghani's candidature for UNSG, and of course also supports him this time around. More than a mere competent administrator as described above he is a producer of policy ideas in his own right, and as such 'gets' what it means to be innovative - but most importantly, as few practitioners he understands the defining feature of our time: the convergence between security and development. The previous posts on Ghani can be found here.

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