World Health Organization

I wanted to be World Bank president – Jeffrey Sachs

Development economist Jeffrey Sachs may have dropped out of the running for the top post at the World Bank, but he admitted that he "tried hard" to get it

MANILA, Philippines – Development economist Jeffrey Sachs may have dropped out of the running for the top post at the World Bank, but he admitted that he “tried hard” to get it.

“I wanted to be World Bank president… but I couldn’t convince my own president (US president Barack Obama). I tried hard but i didn’t get it,” he said in an interview with Rappler on Friday, May 4.

Sachs, who is in Manila for the 45th Asian Development Bank (ADB) Annual Governors Meeting, said that if Obama would have chosen him, he would have steered the multilateral lender into playing a more pronounced role in advancing global development goals, including fighting diseases and improving education.

“The World Bank is important because it promotes ideas and convenes government, civil society groups for a common good. It is good when it does that, it fails when it acts like a bank,” he shared.

He would have also pursued a “closer relationship between world bank and the regional development like the ADB.”

He has devoted his wide-ranging career to ending extreme poverty, and has worked for decades in poverty alleviation projects around the world. That has helped him garner endorsements from Bhutan, East Timor, Haiti, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia and Namibia.

When Washington chose Korean-American physician and educator Jim Yong Kim as its nominee to the multilateral bank, Sachs withdrew from the race and supported Kim, a former colleague at Harvard University,

Kim eventually got the job in April after the bank’s board favored him over an opposition candidate, Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who had argued that the huge development lender needs reorientation under someone from the developing world.

Sachs, 57, is the director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University and a special adviser to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals.


He also shared that he will be pursuing the “creation of a network of institutions” in various countries that will assess and contribute to the crafting of a sustainable energy and environmental plan.

These institutions will create ‘something that makes sense for particular countries–how much these cost, who will finance these, what are the options.  I think we don’t know enough yet.”

He cited as example the Philippines’ different energy sources, including solar power, hydro, and some biofuel.

“The Philippines has different kinds of low carbon energy sources. How do we fit these in a regional strategy? That kind of assessment has not been done,” he noted. –