Ivanka Trump among possible World Bank nominees

Ivanka Trump was the driving force behind a $1 billion World Bank fund to promote entrepreneurship by women. (AFP)
Updated 12 January 2019
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Ivanka Trump among possible World Bank nominees

  • Nikki Haley also in the running according to Financial Times report

WASHINGTON: Donald Trump’s daughter and adviser Ivanka and the former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley are among possible US candidates to replace outgoing World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, The Financial Times reported Friday.
Kim abruptly announced Monday he was cutting short his tenure as the bank’s president more than three years before his second term was due to end.
In addition to Trump and Haley, who stepped down as US Ambassador to the United Nations last month, other names being floated include Treasury Undersecretary for International Affairs David Malpass and Mark Green, head of the US Agency for International Development, the newspaper reported.
Ivanka Trump in 2017 was the driving force behind a $1 billion, Saudi-supported World Bank fund to promote entrepreneurship by women.
The Treasury Department told AFP on Friday that it had no comment in potential candidates.
The department has received a “significant number of recommendations,” a spokesperson said.
“We are beginning the internal review process for a US nominee. We look forward to working with the governors to select a new leader.”
Under an unwritten agreement, the United States, which is the bank’s largest shareholder, has always chosen its leader since the institution was founded following World War II.
But the success of a US candidate no longer appears completely assured.
Kim was the first American nominee to face a contested election for the World Bank presidency in 2012 and the bank’s board has said its selection process will be “open, merit-based and transparent,” implying non-US candidates would not be ruled out.
The World Bank Board said Thursday it would start accepting nominations for a new leader early next month and name a replacement for Kim by mid-April.


Time to tear down Mideast trade barriers, Davos panel hears

Updated 21 min 24 sec ago
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Time to tear down Mideast trade barriers, Davos panel hears

  • Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri, Saudi minister of economy and planning, said a move to ease movement of traffic across the border could be followed elsewhere
  • Majid Al Futtaim CEO Alain Bejjani: Now there’s this seriousness between Saudi Arabia and the UAE, I hope it gets to frictionless trade

DAVOS: Amid global trade wars and the rise of protectionism, Middle East economic and business leaders on Tuesday issued a clarion call for the exact opposite: To ease customs restrictions in the region.
A panel at Davos heard how an agreement between Saudi Arabia and the UAE to boost cooperation — including the reduction of obstacles to trade across the shared border — could be a blueprint for the wider region.
Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri, Saudi minister of economy and planning, said a move to ease movement of traffic across the border — partly through the use of technology — could be followed elsewhere. “We want to establish a reference for others to follow,” he said.
Alain Bejjani, CEO of retail and leisure group Majid Al Futtaim, said “frictionless trade” would give the region a boost.
“Now there’s this seriousness between Saudi Arabia and the UAE, I hope it gets to frictionless trade,” he told Arab News on the sidelines of the Davos forum.
Bejjani declined to say whether that would involve a customs union, a common market or a common currency. Given the imposition of trade tariffs between the US and China, and the rise of Brexit, globalization — something espoused by many Davos delegates — is seen as on the wane.
But Bejjani said breaking down barriers in the Middle East could help it better compete with Western Europe and the US.
“For the past almost century now… we’ve been ingeniously working on making sure we put barriers across the Arab world. The reality is we have a market that’s as big as most of the largest markets in the world… if we’re smart enough to work together,” he told the Davos panel.
Khalid Al-Rumaihi, chief executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, agreed that Saudi-UAE cooperation was “a great template” for others to follow.
Aside from “opening up” Middle East markets, Al-Rumaihi said harmonizing regulation in the region would also be beneficial to businesses and entrepreneurs.
“If the rules are changing in each country, if they’re not harmonized, it’s very difficult… for an entrepreneur (to understand) the regulatory environment. So they don’t scale very quickly, and that’s something we need to solve,” he said. Talk of freer trade within the Middle East is especially relevant when it comes to the Palestinian territories, which are subject to Israeli occupation and blockade.
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said freer movement and a reduction of duties would help the economy grow.
“We need to see our products being waived (of) customs,” he said. “We need mobility — we’re under occupation.”