News Release

Zoellick at World Bank?


Director of 50 Years Is Enough: U.S. Network for Global Economic Justice, Dossani said today: “Though I am not surprised that George Bush has nominated another white male neoconservative to the post of World Bank president, I am appalled. After the departure in disgrace of Paul Wolfowitz, the White House had a chance to live up to its own rhetoric and democratize the process for appointing the World Bank head. Instead they’ve stuck to the status quo, business as usual, based on a 60-year-old ‘gentleman’s agreement.’ The situation is unacceptable and gives the lie to any claim that the World Bank could ever be an institution for advancing the interests of countries in the Global South.” Dossani is a contributor to the blog World Bank President.
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Barry is policy director of the International Relations Center, which features a profile of Zoellick on its web page noting that, among other things, Zoellick was a signatory to the Project for a New American Century letter to President Clinton on Iraq.

Barry is author of an analysis of Zoellick’s policies when he was U.S. trade representative.

Russell is director of international advocacy for the group Health GAP. She said today: “During his tenure at U.S. trade representative, Robert Zoellick was well known among AIDS and public health advocates for lobbying for trade agreements that were major giveaways to the pharmaceutical industry. Because of Bob Zoellick’s efforts, these agreements will increase the cost of lifesaving medicines in developing countries. He put drug companies’ interests ahead of the interests of people living with HIV and other life-threatening diseases. He was on the wrong side of that debate.

“We are very concerned that Zoellick will apply that same flawed, market-fundamentalist thinking to the major health policy issues that have made the Bank so ineffective in fighting poverty.

“For example, the World Bank has not been a leader in supporting poor countries in creating the ‘fiscal space’ that they need to scale up HIV treatment and care — that’s the flexibility countries need to increase budget expenditures in health and increase absorption of international donor aid. That flexibility is hard to get because the International Monetary Fund pressures governments not to increase health and education investments, in the name of ensuring macroeconomic stability.

“It’s very difficult to imagine the same Bob Zoellick who carried water for big pharma being the kind of advocate ministers of health need in order to expand their investments in salaries for doctors and nurses to address 6,000 preventable AIDS deaths each day in Africa alone.”
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Trade and debt specialist with the American Friends Service Committee, Beaumont said today: “The World Bank needs a president with a vision for breaking out of the one-size-fits-all development model promoted by the World Bank. As U.S. trade representative, Robert Zoellick was the architect of the cookie-cutter approach to U.S. trade policy. He ensuring that the Central American Free Trade Agreement and other trade pacts were even more aggressive than the North American Free Trade Agreement in protecting multinational corporate interests. … Zoellick was at the table telling potential trading partners to take it or leave it as he helped build the coalition of the willing for the Bush trade agenda.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167