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General News of Sunday, 20 May 2007

Source: Dow Jones

Move Quickly On Wolfowitz Successor -Baah-Wiredu

POTSDAM, Germany -(Dow Jones)- Former World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz worked hard for Africa, but the most important thing now is to find a new leader without delay so the organization can get on with its important role, Ghana's finance and economic planning minister said Friday.

"To me, he did a good job," Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu told reporters at a press conference on the sidelines of a meeting of finance ministers from the Group of Eight leading industrialized economies.

Baah-Wiredu noted the keen interest that Wolfowitz had taken in observing how World Bank money was being spent in Ghana, and added he believed that other African nations had benefitted from his leadership of the organization.

However, he said the development bank's shareholders should now move quickly to choose a successor.

"Individuals will come and go," he said. "The most important thing is to speed up and to fulfill the mandate and the duties and the responsibilities assigned to that institution, because any delay of a day or a minute represents saving the lives of millions of people, not only in Africa, but in other parts of the world."

Asked about suggestions that South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel could be the next leader of the World Bank, Baah-Wiredu said that anyone qualified for the position would do, as the most important thing is that the organization continues its work.

"Whoever gets that position, it's O.K.," Baah-Wiredu said.

By custom, the U.S. nominates the president of the World Bank.

G8 finance ministers will meet with Baah-Wiredu and four other African finance ministers later Friday to discuss an action plan to ensure debt sustainability, improve financial management and develop local bond markets in the continent.