No US candidate as World Bank deadline nears

NIGERIAN Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and former Colombian Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo are set to be nominated to lead the World Bank, sources with knowledge of emerging market efforts to find candidates said yesterday.

The candidacies of Okonjo-Iweala and Ocampo, who have credentials as both economists and diplomats and according to sources the respective backing of Brazil and South Africa, pose a challenge to the US, whose hold on the post has never been contested.

But with its majority of votes and the expected support of European countries, the US is still likely to ensure that another American will succeed Robert Zoellick, who plans to step down at the end of June.

Washington has held the presidency since the Bank’s founding, but it has yet to publicly identify a nominee to succeed Zoellick. The deadline for submitting nominations is Friday, and the Obama administration has said it will name a candidate by then.