New Delhi: The five-nation BRICS group of emerging economies, representing almost 43 per cent of the world's population, on Thursday welcomed the candidatures of developing countries for the World Bank presidency, demanding that the selection should be through an "open and merit-based process".
"We welcome the candidatures from developing world for the position of the president of the World Bank. We reiterate that the heads of IMF and World Bank be selected through an open and merit-based process," leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa said in a joint statement after their one-day summit in New Delhi.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigerian finance minister and a former managing director of the World Bank, has gained the support of African leaders. Brazil has nominated former Colombian Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo, now a professor at Columbia University in New York.
Their candidatures are in direct opposition to Jim Yong Kim, a Korean-American health expert whose name was put forward by President Barack Obama last week.
The World Bank board would meet in April to select the new president to replace Robert Zoellick, who has been holding the post since July 2007.
The World Bank and its sister Bretton Woods institution, the International Monetary Fund, have been headed by an American and an European respectively as part of a so-called "gentleman's agreement" between the US and Europe since their founding after World War Two.
Leaders of the emerging countries empahasised that the selection of the World Bank chief should be on the basis on merit and not the nationality.
"The new World Bank leadership must commit to transform the Bank into a multilateral institution that truly reflects the vision of all its members, including the governance structure that reflects current economic and political reality," the BRICS leaders said in a joint statement called "Delhi Declaration."
The developing countries also called for ending the "outdated donor-recipient dichotomy" saying the multilateral institutions should work on the philosophy of equal partnership.