World Bank presidential candidates profiled

Jose Antonio Ocampo Mr Ocampo was interviewed in Washington this week

Related Stories

Columbia University professor Jose Antonio Ocampo is a Colombian economist with years of practical experience in multilateral organisations and one of the leading academic figures in the field of development.

As finance minister for Colombia from 1996 to 1998, he has been widely credited with having pushed forward policies that helped his country avoid the worst of the financial crises to have struck Latin America in recent years.

He also served as minister of agriculture and director of planning and has been a visiting fellow at Oxford and Yale.

But he seems to have emerged as a viable candidate mostly thanks to his performance at the helm of the UN's Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Eclac) and his stint as UN under-secretary general for economic and social affairs from 2003 to 2007.

Too many Colombians?

Indeed, one feature of Mr Ocampo's nomination is that it does not have the official support of the Colombian authorities.

The Colombian government wants Vice-President Angelino Garzon to become director general of the International Labour Organization.

It seems to believe Ocampo may be a "Colombian too many", especially since fellow countryman Luis Alfredo Moreno is already the president of the Washington-based Inter-American Development Bank.

But the soft-spoken Mr Ocampo is backed by a group of developing countries, led by Brazil, while being also very well received in international academic circles.

"If the decision is finally based on merit, as it should be, Ocampo will win: he is far and away better than any on the list of credible names," said Boston University professor Kevin Gallagher in the FT.com blog Beyond Brics.

Economists supporting the 60-year-old Colombian's bid also include Sir Richard Jolly and Nobel-prize winner Joseph Stiglitz.

Unorthodox view

The World Bank contenders

Kim Yong Jim: Currently president of Dartmouth College. Backed by the US for the job. Born in Seoul, the 52-year-old is a leading figure in global health.

A doctor and former director of the HIV/Aids department at the World Health Organization..

Medical doctorate and PhD in anthropology.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala:The Nigerian finance minister, 57, has been endorsed by three African countries - South Africa, Angola and Nigeria.

Previously a managing director at the World Bank.

PhD in regional economics and development.

Jose Antonio Ocampo:Currently professor of professional practice in the International and Public Affairs department of Columbia University. Nominated by Brazil with the support of the Dominican Republic.

Former Colombian finance minister and has held other posts in government, including agriculture.

He has held a number of positions in the United Nations, including as UN Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs.

BA in economics and sociology and a PhD in economics from Yale University.

The son of a former government minister and university dean, Mr Ocampo first went to school in the Colombian city of Cali before moving to the US to study for a BA in economics and sociology at the University of Notre Dame, where he graduated in 1972.

Four years later, he also got a PhD in economics from Yale University, aged only 23.

On his return to Colombia, he went into academia - which many consider his true passion - before joining the liberal government of President Cesar Gaviria in 1990 as an economics adviser.

Not an orthodox free-marketer, Mr Ocampo wanted the Colombian economy - that was staring to open itself to the world - to do so gradually, but he lost the debate and chose to resign his position.

He returned as minister of agriculture in 1993, and when Ernesto Samper was elected president in 1994, he was first appointed director of public planning and then minister of finance.

It was then that he decided to establish controls on capital inflows, such as requiring foreign investors to deposit part of their capital at the Colombian Central Bank.

At the same time, he also championed the injection of more capital into the productive system - clearly distancing himself from the dominant "laissez-faire" attitude that prevailed in the region.

Work ethic

Mr Ocampo only left the finance ministry to run Eclac (or as it is known in Spanish, Cepal), which he turned into a development powerhouse.

Throughout his career, Mr Ocampo has stayed true to his belief that successful development "is always the result of a good combination of market, state and society".

"If you try to get rid of markets, that will result in severe inefficiencies and loss of dynamism," he wrote recently in an article outlining his view for the World Bank.

"To try to move forward without the state provokes unfair or unstable results, while ignoring social actors takes away the legitimacy needed for successful policies."

And those who know him well vouch for his intellectual honesty and work ethic. It is said that during his time at Eclac, he used to wake up at 04:00 in the morning in order to have a little bit of time to think, read and write.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Business stories

RSS

Business Live

  1.  
    12:40: Markets update
    Tullow rig

    The FTSE is down 16 points, or 0.2%, at 6,930 in lunchtime trading.

    • Not a great Monday for Tullow Oil, whose shares are down 7% after updating the market on a dispute over the maritime border between Ghana and Ivory Coast that has affected exploration in the area.
    • Top riser of the day is Intertek, up 3.6% to £26.21 per share.
     
  2.  
    12:25: Mikhail Fridman

    Mikhail Fridman's investment company, LetterOne, has written a stern letter to energy secretary Ed Davey following his department's decision to block the sale of 12 North Sea oil fields to the Russian oligarch. Jonathan Muir, chief executive of LetterOne, says the company will seek a judicial review of the decision. "We very much hope that DECC will reconsider its position," he adds in the letter obtained by the FT.

     
  3.  
    China's Oprah Via Twitter Linda Yueh Chief business correspondent
    BBC

    tweets: My interview w Yang Lan, China's Oprah, at GREAT festival Shanghai. Prince William here too. Listen tomorrow #r4today

     
  4.  
    11:55: Semiconductor merger
    nxp

    You might not have heard of NXP Semiconductors before, and frankly neither had we, but the Dutch chip maker has announced a deal to buy its smaller rival Freescale Semiconductor for $11.8bn (£7.6bn). The combined NXP/Freescale will be the biggest automotive and industrial semiconductor manufacturer and be worth more than $40bn (£26bn).

     
  5.  
    11:40: China purchasing

    Manufacturing activity in China improved in February for the first time in four months, but export demand weakened. HSBC's manufacturing index, based on a survey of factory purchasing managers, rose to 50.7 from January's 49.7. It uses a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show activity increasing.

     
  6.  
    11:25: Dilbert

    Today's Dilbert is also an exposition of Goodhart's law (that when a measure becomes a target, it is no longer a worthwhile measure). So while you read it, you'll be technically working, which is a good excuse if you get caught reading comics at work.

     
  7.  
    11:10: Xiaomi camera
    Xiaomi

    Tweet picture of the day courtesy of TechCrunch, which reports that Xiaomi has introduced a bargain GoPro-style action camera that can be strapped to almost anything - even a cat...

     
  8.  
    10:54: Eurozone inflation

    Eurostat also said that consumer prices in the eurozone fell by 0.3% in February, compared with the same month last year, following a 0.6% fall in January. Economists had expected a 0.4% slide. Excluding the cost of energy and unprocessed food, prices rose by 0.6% year-on-year.

     
  9.  
    10:44: Eurozone unemployment

    Eurozone unemployment continued to fall in January, hitting its lowest level since April 2012 as the economy gained momentum. The jobless rate fell to 11.2% from 11.3% in December, with the number of people out of work down by 140,000 to just over 18m.

     
  10.  
    Mobile World Congress Via Twitter

    Nic Fildes, technology and communications editor of The Times, tweets from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona:

    Of all the clunky telecoms buzzwords, "softwarization" is the worst. It sounds like a defunct rave act

    @NicFildes

     
  11.  
    10:13: Mortgage lending
    house building

    The number of loan approvals for house purchases fell to 60,786 in January, compared to an average of 61,666 over the previous six months, the Bank of England said today. The number of approvals for remortgaging was also down, to 31,640, compared with an average of 32,044 over the previous six months.

     
  12.  
    10:00: New coin
    coin

    Here's that new portrait of the Queen for sterling coins. It's only the fifth coin portrait of the Queen in her 63 years on the throne and the first since 1998. New coins bearing the image will now be struck, according to the Royal Mint.

     
  13.  
    Mobile World Congress Via Twitter

    BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones tweets:

    Rory Cellan-Jones

    I think it's fair to say that Sony Eye Glass is a work in progress

    @ruskin147

     
  14.  
    09:42: North Sea gas deal BBC World News
    North sea oil rig

    Following the government decision to block the sale of 12 oil and gas fields in the North Sea to Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman, Daragh McDowell, an analyst at risk analytics firm Verisk Maplecroft tells BBC World Business Report: "To allow Russian investment in North Sea offshore oil would definitely run counter to the spirit, if not the letter, of existing sanctions."

     
  15.  
    Globalisation Via Twitter
    Factory workers in Sri Lanka

    Duncan Weldon, Newsnight economics correspondent, asks whether globalisation is slowing down.

     
  16.  
    09:12: Brand new
    chocolate

    Marks & Spencer, Cadbury and Heinz have all taken a dip in consumers' affections, according to the annual Consumer Superbrands survey. British Airways topped the survey, while messing with the Creme Egg hurt Cadbury. What say you, readers? Which brands do you love - or love to hate? bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk

     
  17.  
    08:57: Pension charges
    Steve Webb

    Pensions minister Steve Webb is worried that the "dark corners" of the investment and pensions industry are hiding some "nasty surprises". As a result, the Financial Conduct Authority and Department for Work and Pensions have called on the industry to help draft new rules on how the cost of workplace pension schemes should be reported to savers. "We have a duty to throw light for the first time on potential hidden charges - and restore faith and fairness in British pensions," Mr Webb says.

     
  18.  
    Mobile World Congress Via Twitter
    Lumia phones

    Leo Kelion, technology desk editor of BBC news website, tweets: #Sony and #Microsoft have new phones at #MWC - but they're not flagships - here's why

     
  19.  
    08:28: Newspaper review
    paper

    The FT reports that Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman will fight to buy those North Sea gas assets. The Wall Street Journal analyses the complex relationship between mobile operators and social networks and whether they should defriend each other. The Times takes a look at more companies coming forward to tackle RBS's Global Restructuring Group (GRG) and its alleged habit of putting them to the wall. RBS says a legal inquiry found no evidence it "set out to artificially distress otherwise viable businesses", The Times reports.

     
  20.  
    08:13: Watch out
    watch

    Technology fans will be watching the Mobile World Congress, which kicks off in Barcelona today, for the latest gadgets. Manufacturers seem determined to get us to buy a smartwatch. Apple and its rivals such as Samsung are trying to make the things prettier and more useful, AFP reports, having interviewed various analysts. Will you be tempted?

     
  21.  
    07:59: Trinity Mirror
    Mirror.co.uk

    Trinity Mirror will start paying a dividend for the first time since 2008 - of 3p a share - as pre-tax profits rose 1% to £102.3m for 2014, the Daily Mirror publisher said. However, print advertising revenue fell 14.1% in the second half of the year as supermarkets cut their spending.

     
  22.  
    07:45: Thorntons
    choc

    A "mixed performance" from Thorntons, chief executive Jonathan Hart tells investors. International sales rose by 19.9% to £5.4m in the first half of the company's financial year, but UK commercial sales melted away by 12.4% to £54.7m. Sounds more like a pick 'n' mixed bag to us...

     
  23.  
    07:32: Nationwide house prices
    For sale sign

    House prices fell by 0.1% in February, according to Nationwide - the first decline in five months, since September. That brought the annual rate of price rises to 5.7% compared with 6.8% in January - a sharper than expected slowdown.

     
  24.  
    07:16: Lib Dems Norman Smith Assistant political editor, BBC News
    Lib Dems

    The Liberal Democrats announce the first of many proposed tax rises today as part of their vow to pay off the deficit by 2018 by increasing the tax take rather than cutting spending further. Norman Smith tells Radio 4's Today programme that banks would have all the cuts in corporation tax since 2010 wiped out in a move that would generate about £1bn for the public purse. However, the Lib Dems still need to raise a further £7bn or so to make their sums add up, he adds.

     
  25.  
    07:02: Buffett letter
    bricks

    A quick reminder of what Mr Buffett's company owns. Among other businesses, Berkshire Hathaway owns about half of Heinz, engine oil firm Lubrizol, clothing maker Fruit of the Loom, the pleasingly named Acme Brick company and private plane operator NetJets. He also owns stakes in Mars, Coca Cola and American Express.

     
  26.  
    06:50: Bank shares BBC Radio 4

    David Cumming, head of equities at Standard Life, tells presenter Simon Jack on Today there is a "lot of noise" around banking stocks given the regulatory pressure the sector is now under, meaning they have a "higher than average risk profile". He also thinks the FTSE 100 will crack the 7,000 mark in the next few weeks as the economy continues to improve.

     
  27.  
    06:37: East Coast trains Radio 5 live
    train

    The East Coast rail route between London and Scotland has returned to private hands after more than five years in the public sector. David Horne of Virgin Trains East Coast is on 5 live. He says Virgin has done a good job with the West Coast line. National Express took over the line during a recession, so starting a franchise now should work better for Virgin, Horne adds.

     
  28.  
    06:24: Market update

    China's decision to cut interest rates over the weekend - the second reduction in four months - in a bid to ward off deflation has boosted stock markets in Asia today, with Sydney up 0.5% as mining companies bounced higher, while the Nikkei in Tokyo and the Shanghai Composite were both 0.3% higher.

     
  29.  
    06:11: Buffett letter Radio 5 live
    warren

    Sue Noffke, fund manager at asset manager Schroders, is 5 live's markets guest. Billionaire investor Warren Buffett sent his annual letter to shareholders on Saturday, summing up his 50 years building one of the planet's biggest companies. Because he behaves more like an owner than an investor, "he has had a longer-term investment horizon" than other investors, says Ms Noffke.

     
  30.  
    06:02: Software security Radio 5 live

    Online security firm AVG's chief executive Gary Kovacs is on 5 live speaking from Barcelona's Mobile World Congress tech show about security breaches. The internet has "only been around for 20 years," so securing the place is now a priority, he says. A podcast is now on the website.

     
  31.  
    06:01: Chris Johnston Business reporter

    Good morning! Get in touch via email bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or on Twitter @BBCBusiness

     
  32.  
    06:00: Howard Mustoe Business reporter

    Good morning everyone. Welcome to Monday. The UK government has said it will block the sale of 12 North Sea oil and gas fields to Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman after concerns about the effect of "possible future sanctions". Stay tuned for more of the best business news.

     

Features

  • A very clever little girlBrain gain

    Are people getting more intelligent?


  • Don Roberto Placa Quiet Don

    The world's worst interview - with one of the loneliest men on Earth


  • BeefaloBeefalo hunt

    The hybrid animal causing havoc in the Grand Canyon


  • Sound of Music PosterFar from a flop

    Even Sound of Music film crew surprised by success


From BBC Capital

Programmes

  • BatteriesClick Watch

    More power to your phone - the lithium-ion batteries that could last twice as long

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.