Bono for World Bank President?


The LA Times proposes U2 lead singer Bono for the presidency of the World Bank.

Don't be fooled by the wraparound sunglasses and the excess hipness. Bono is deeply versed in the issues afflicting the least-developed nations of the world, as former Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill learned when he traveled the continent with the musician. O'Neill, an uber-wonk, came back singing Bono's praises. Bono even brought ultra-conservative Sen. Jesse Helms to tears by relating poverty in Africa to passages in the Bible.

Given Bono's selfless devotion to poor people throughout the world, Bono would certainly counter the suspicion of the World Bank in many parts of the world, though he is unlikely to match outgoing President Wolfensohn for his financial acumen.

An intriguing choice, though one the U.S. is unlikely to take seriously.

Why is the U.S. view the only important one? Recall that the U.S., by long-standing convention, chooses the World Bank President. This is due to European and Japanese acquiescence (the Europeans claim the power to dictate the Managing Director of the IMF, while the Japanese receive no comparable post).

Why is a convention between the U.S., Europe, and Japan relevant? Because together they control the bulk of the votes to the World Bank.

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