US to consider Yunus as World Bank Chief

Dhaka: The US will give "fullest consideration" to the candidature of Nobel Laureate economist Muhammad Yunus for the World Bank presidency if he wants to head the multilateral agency, American Ambassador to Bangladesh Dan Mozena said here today.

"If he agrees (to be a candidate for the World Bank presidency), he will be given fullest consideration," US Ambassador Dan Mozena told newsmen on the sidelines of a function in northwestern Rajshahi.

The envoy, however, did not elaborate further. He was responding to a query on the surprise move by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina suggesting his candidature for the position last week.

On February 22, Hasina proposed Yunus`s name for the World Bank chief`s post during a meeting with a EU parliamentary delegation months after his resignation from the Grameen Bank after a protracted dispute with her government.

Since the setting up of World Bank after the end of the Second World War, Americans have held the top job at World Bank, while the chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been from Europe.

Representatives of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), who met on the sidelines of a G20 meeting in Mexico City early this week, were of the opinion that the top World Bank job should be open to all countries.

"Candidates should be based on merit and not on nationality," Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega had said.

The BRICS nations may also field their candidate for the post to make a larger point that the merit and not nationality should be the criterion for selection.

Countries have to submit names for the job by March 23.