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On the Record

Former Trade Representative Nominated to Head World Bank

Kenneth Rogoff

Two weeks after Paul Wolfowitz resigned as president of the World Bank, President Bush nominated former U.S. trade representative Robert Zoellick to lead the organization. An economics professor and a journalist discuss the challenges facing the bank’s next president.

[EXCERPT]

Challenges for next World Bank head

RAY SUAREZ: Well, as we mentioned earlier, he’s taking over, if approved, at a difficult time. One international economist said today it’s going to be hard to put Humpty-Dumpty back together again. What’s Zoellick’s first job, if he takes the job now?

KENNETH ROGOFF: Well, I think his first job is probably to smooth over relations with the staff, where Mr. Wolfowitz just had a very rocky time. They are the core of what the bank has to offer, its technical assistance, its knowledge, its experience. Without the team, it doesn’t mean anything to be the manager, and I think that’s the first thing he has to do.

The second thing, of course, is he has to go out hat in hand, raising money, because the bank’s on a cycle where it constantly needs money, maybe $20 billion for the next three years. And he has to convince all these capitals around the world to give it to him, even though a lot of them are quite angry at the bank and still angry that it’s yet another American as president.

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Author

Kenneth Rogoff

Former Brookings Expert

Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics, Harvard University

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