Now the dust has settled, let's celebrate the race for the World Bank presidency. We had the highest quality field in history and a winner who just might manage to refocus the institution on the dominant challenge of development today: inequality.
How has the unique economic history of different countries shaped them, what is it like to do business there now because of that legacy, and what lessons can they learn from other countries with a similar background?
If Dr. Kim is selected as president of the World Bank, it would be the first time the professional experience of its leader matched its stated mission. His commitment to working with the very poor will help ensure the Bank focuses on its core mission.
The opening up of the contest for World Bank president is a historic change whose significance has not been fully appreciated. This is not surprising, given the widespread misunderstanding of the IMF and World Bank.
Could Jim Yong Kim's presidency offer a chance to reinvent the World Bank? Redirecting the supertanker of multilateral development finance will take more than a change of presidents. The entrenched interests in the Bank's management and board will try to prevent a change of course.
It is high time that the Bretton Woods institutions adapted to changing global realities. The next World Bank president will need the legitimacy and wide support that only an open and merit-based selection process can ensure.
The second wave of global economic crisis is going to start hitting poor countries very hard, very soon. The World Bank needs to be fit for purpose and geared to respond with credible, legitimate leadership in place.
The next president of the World Bank ought to be selected carefully and in an open and transparent manner. It is January now and the next president should be selected before June 30 when Robert Zoellick's term ends.