Former Colombian finance minister Jose Antonio Ocampo declared his candidacy for presidency of the World Bank Wednesday, one of only two non-U.S. candidates to run this year.
In an email to AFP about his candidacy Ocampo said, “Confirmed. It is [Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala] and I.”
Ocampo’s announcement coincides with Colombia’s demand for greater representation in the World Bank.
Established in 1944, the World Bank is an international financial institution that issues loans to developing nations. The US government is the World Bank’s biggest shareholder, and the institution has been exclusively headed by US leaders to date.
Speaking with Reuters, former World Bank official Domenico Lombardi said, “The impressive credentials of both Ocampo and Okonjo-Iweala puts tremendous pressure on the White House to come up with a candidate of at least equivalent standing […] This signals a big shift and really reflects a game change. [..] This is the first time in history we have a truly contested election.”
Last year Mexican Central Banker Augustin Carstens lost a presidential bid for the International Monetary Fund – the World Bank’s sister organization. Carstens lost to a US and European backed candidate.
The World Bank’s 25 member board said they will decide on a president within the next month.