Nigerian finance minister runs for World Bank top job

AFP, Friday 23 Mar 2012

The former World Bank managing director plans to run for position traditionally held by an American

Nigeria’s finance minister will run for the World Bank top job, her South African counterpart announced on Friday, the deadline for nominations to succeed Robert Zoellick.

“We are proud to confirm that the Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will be a candidate,” Pravin Gordhan told reporters at a press conference, standing alongside her.

Okonjo-Iweala had been rumoured as a possible candidate with emerging economies pushing for a representative at the 187-nation development lender whose top job had traditionally been held by an American since its founding nearly 70 years ago.

Days after her spokesman denied she was pursuing the job, Okonjo-Iweala said she was “absolutely” confident of her bid.

“I have long experience in the World Bank, in government and in diplomacy and I look forward to giving you my vision at the appropriate time,” she said.

Okonjo-Iweala is a respected former World Bank managing director who joined Nigeria’s government as finance minister in August.

“I share the World Bank vision of fighting poverty with passion. The issue is in what direction one must take this to make this the most beneficial,” she said.

Nominations are due Friday with Zoellick stepping down at the end of his term in June.

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