Listen Now

Newman: Should the World Bank consider non-Americans for its next president?

By: /
19 March, 2012
By: Don Newman
Chairman of Canada 2020, Senior Columnist with

Indeed it should.

Not only would a wider talent pool from which to choose its next President be helpful to the Bank, it would also set an important precedent.

Part of the agreement creating the Breton Woods Institutions was that the head of the Bank would always be American, and the head of the International Monetary Fund would be European.

But the world has changed a lot since that agreement was reached at the end of the Second World War. There are a lot of very able people from healthier economies than either the United States or Europe can presently boast who could lead either the Bank or the Fund.

Until 1996 the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development was always lead by a European. Canadian Donald Johnston broke that precedent. Now the OECD is lead by a Mexican.

It is time for that same kind of change now at the World Bank and the IMF.

Before you click away, we’d like to ask you for a favour … 


Journalism in Canada has suffered a devastating decline over the last two decades. Dozens of newspapers and outlets have shuttered. Remaining newsrooms are smaller. Nowhere is this erosion more acute than in the coverage of foreign policy and international news. It’s expensive, and Canadians, oceans away from most international upheavals, pay the outside world comparatively little attention.

At Open Canada, we believe this must change. If anything, the pandemic has taught us we can’t afford to ignore the changing world. What’s more, we believe, most Canadians don’t want to. Many of us, after all, come from somewhere else and have connections that reach around the world.

Our mission is to build a conversation that involves everyone — not just politicians, academics and policy makers. We need your help to do so. Your support helps us find stories and pay writers to tell them. It helps us grow that conversation. It helps us encourage more Canadians to play an active role in shaping our country’s place in the world.

Become a Supporter