President Obama should appoint Jeff Sachs President of the World Bank. Jeff is, without doubt, the world's top development economist. He has worked tireless for decades in every corner of the globe helping impoverished countries eliminate hunger and disease, fight inflation and unemployment, and take the steps needed to jumpstart and perpetuate economic growth.
Jeff is extremely well known to every progressive-minded head of state in the developed world. He's spent an enormous part of his life working in these countries, raising development funds for these countries, instituting development projects in these countries, and showing these countries, by his physical presence and tireless work on their behalf, that he cares. This is why so many developing countries are supporting his candidacy. They know Jeff Sachs has a huge heart and a brilliant mind and that both of these organs are focused on their problems 24-7.
Unlike past World Bank Presidents, Jeff is not a banker or a politician, although he has plenty of experience working with both. Instead, Jeff's actually qualified for the job. He knows what does and doesn't work and how to persuade reluctant donors, be they countries or wealthy individuals, that their development aide will be put to good work, whether it is invested in new wells, crop seed, fertilizer, public health, medicine, education, or infrastructure.
Jeff is also an amazing public spokesman on behalf of the world's poor. And his advocacy for their welfare has converted major celebrities to adopt poverty relief as their own life's cause.
I've known Jeff since graduate school. We're very close friends. He took me down to Bolivia to work on pension reform in the mid 1990s after he and President Sanchez de Lozada stopped hyperinflation. More recently, we spent some time in Chile advising another graduate school mate, President Sebastian Pinera, on Chilean economic, education, and social policy. So I've seen Jeff working, in full gear, on the ground and I've also discussed his work in Eastern Europe and Russia and Africa with him at great length.
This guy is the real deal. He's genuine, honest, and has no hesitancy calling a spade a spade. He'll make a real difference starting day 1. President Obama would make an enormous gift to the developing world by appointing Jeffrey Sachs President of the World Bank.