Frost Over the World

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Changing the World Bank

If elected, Nigeria’s finance minister would be the first African, first black and first female to head the institution.

The World Bank was created in 1944 along with the IMF to manage the post-World War II global economy. Nearly 70 years later the world has changed and countries once dependant on the World Bank are now global powers themselves.

As the World Bank is about to select a new president, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s finance minister, talks to Sir David Frost about her candidacy for the presidency of the World Bank. If elected, she would be the first African, the first black, the first female to head the bank.

She says: “I grew up in Nigeria, I lived poverty, I know what it is to be able to fetch water, to not have three meals a day, I lived through the conflict and war in Nigeria and I know what it means to be in a fragile and conflict-affected state and what that does to economic development. So I’m not talking about these things from theory. I’ve also had 25-years of experience working at a bank in regions all over the world… And this is capped off by working on the other side of the donor community in terms of being a finance minister and now coordinating minister for the economy. So I know what it is like to manage complex development problems every day… I’m passionate about development, I’m passionate about what the World Bank can do.”

Sir David also be turns his eye to the French elections – will President Sarkozy be making a comeback? Christian Makarian, a French journalist and deputy editor of the newspaper L’Express, will be giving up the latest updates from Paris.

Sex-trafficking: A global phenomenon

New figures from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) show a massive increase in the levels of human trafficking. It is a global problem – victims are frequently tricked with offers of jobs in wealthy foreign countries before being forced into prostitution and forced labour. There are estimated to be 27million slaves around the world, but the real number could be higher. Around 50 per cent of trafficking victims are younger than 18-years-old.

Felicity Gerry, a British barrister, will discuss sex-trafficking and what can be done to combat it internationally.
Filippo Grandi of UNRWA and Yasmeen Rabah, a Gazan Youth representative, will discuss the importance of engaging young people in Gaza and the future of Palestinian youth in light of the Arab Spring. How can the life in Gaza be improved?

“The Arab Spring has really created a space in which people are now much less afraid to talk about what they want and what they wish. In contrast of that you have the complete stagnation of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process on which depends also – among many other things – a fair solution to the refugee question. So we have to live for another while with the refugee problem unsolved, and during that time we have to offer opportunities for refugees. They have the right to have better lives even if their political problem is not solved… We need to invest in education, health, economic opportunities, micro-finance.” Grandi says.

Also joining Sir David is Una Reilly, from the Belfast Titanic Society, who will share her great-grandfather’s story of building the doomed liner and her role in keeping the memory of the Titanic alive.