US economist eyes World Bank presidency

Jeffrey Sachs says global lender has made blunders of "huge proportions" as it is not led by development experts.

    Sachs cited poor farmers in the developing world as some of the people the World Bank has let down [EPA]

    Jeffrey Sachs, a professor of economics at Columbia University, has said he wants to be the next president of the World Bank as the current head of the global lender is near the end of his five-year term.

    The US economist told Al Jazeera the global institution, which has the power to give money to developing and poor nations, had failed in the past.

    "I think the World Bank has made many, many mistakes over the years it has been led by Wall Street, by bankers and politicians," said Sachs.

    "It has not been led by development experts. This has caused it to make truly consequential blunders of huge proportions."

    Sachs' comments come at a time when emerging economies - notably the so-called BRICS economies; Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - have been clamouring for the next president to come from their own.

    The current head of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, is due to step down in June. The US and Europe have traditionally appointed heads of the World Bank and the IMF respectively.

    Sachs, who is the author of several books on development including The End of Poverty, criticised the World Bank for neglecting poor farmers.

    "In the 1980s the World Bank abandoned small farmers, peasant farmers who constitute so many of the poor," said Sachs, who is also the director of the Earth Insititute at Columbia Univerity, which works to combat climate change and poverty.

    "It lead to terrible consequences for 20 years, delaying the onset of economic development in parts of Africa, for example.

    "The bank completely blundered in its treatment of health policy in the 1990s even as the AIDS pandemic was raging. It didn’t know how to react."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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