GDF 2018: Reforming the World Bank
The World Bank Group and the MDBs are critical to advancing sustainable development and economic growth in developing countries. Although the MDBs are important channels, there are ways in which their policies and mechanisms can be improved. The World Bank Group is seeking a capital increase from its shareholders for the IBRD, the second since 2010 when the IBRD received an additional $5.1 billion in paid-in capital allowing a total callable capital of $86.2 billion and for the IFC. As the World Bank’s largest shareholder, the U.S. has a significant role and the request for a capital increase should require that the World Bank make a series of changes. Shareholders should demand World Bank reforms to create a new twenty-first-century business model for the IBRD, rather than simply providing additional capital.
Olin Wethington is a nonresident fellow at Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. He is the founder and chairman of Wethington International LLC, an investment and business advisory firm focused on advising institutions on capital investment, financial structure, and business strategy in emerging markets.
He previously served as chairman, AIG Companies in China, with responsibilities for the operation and expansion of AIG’s business in China, including the broadening of its financial services platform in China.
Wethington has also held a number of positions in the US government, including: special envoy on China; counselor to the secretary of the US Treasury; director, economic policy, Coalition Provisional Authority (Baghdad, Iraq); assistant secretary for international affairs, US Treasury; special assistant to the President and executive secretary of the Economic Policy Council, White House; and deputy under secretary for International Trade, US Department of Commerce.
Wethington was previously a partner at Steptoe & Johnson (Washington, DC). He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Board of Trustees of the George C. Marshall Foundation, the Board of Directors of the International Republican Institute, and the Council on Global Financial Regulation. He is a recipient of the Alexander Hamilton Award, the highest honor of the US Department of the Treasury.
Axel van Trotsenburg
Axel van Trotsenburg is the World Bank Vice President of Development Finance (DFi), where he oversees strategic mobilization of resources, including for the International Development Association (IDA) and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), as well as a multi-billion dollar trust fund portfolio. From 2013 to 2016, he served as Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific Region and between 2009 and 2013 he served as Vice President for Concessional Finance and Global Partnerships (CFP).
In his current role, Mr. van Trotsenburg is responsible for the replenishment and stewardship of IDA, the largest source of concessional financing for the poorest countries. In this context, he has led the policy negotiations and replenishment process for two replenishments, which together mobilized a record $125 billion—$50 billion in 2010 for IDA16 and $75 billion in 2016 for IDA18.
Mr. van Trotsenburg also oversees IBRD corporate finances, with a focus on co-leading the World Bank Group’s efforts to obtain a capital increase from its shareholders. Apart from the capital increase, he oversees the management of IBRD's capital and earnings in line with the institution's financial policies and development objectives. He also manages policies and strategies related to medium-term capital planning, overall balance sheet management, and annual decisions on loan terms and income allocation.
Apart from his experience in managing World Bank finances, Mr. van Trotsenburg has had extensive experience in country operations and managing regional programs. Prior to his role as Vice President of DFi, he served as Vice President for the East Asia and Pacific Region from 2013 to 2016, where he oversaw a portfolio of over $30 billion in loans, grants, credits and trust funds, coordinating and supervising the activities of more than 1,000 staff.
From July 2007 to July 2009, Mr. van Trotsenburg was Country Director for Colombia and Mexico, and from 2002 to July 2007, Country Director for Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. From 1996 to 2001, he was the Senior Manager of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, the largest and most comprehensive debt relief program for poor countries, which delivered debt relief packages of close to $30 billion for 20 countries. He served previously as Senior Country Economist for Côte d’Ivoire and Country Economist for Guatemala.
Geoffrey W. S. Okamoto was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for International Development Policy in May 2017. In this capacity, he oversees efforts to foster economic growth in developing countries and leads engagement by the United States with respect to multilateral development banks, the G-20 Development Working Group, and the Paris Club. He also serves as the Treasury Department’s “+1” on the board of the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
Okamoto joins the Treasury from the U.S. Senate. Previously, he served as the Majority Staff Director for the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection. In 2012, Mr. Okamoto was appointed the Policy Director for the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade after serving as Senior Policy Advisor to U.S. Representative John Campbell. His earlier government service included working for the White House National Economic Council under President George W. Bush and at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In the private sector, Mr. Okamoto also worked as a consultant for KPMG, where he counseled clients on risk management, business process optimization, and regulatory compliance.
He earned a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown University, with a concentration in Banking, Fiscal, and Monetary Policy. Mr. Okamoto also studied at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and conducted his graduate research on the effect bank reserve requirements have on aggregate lending volume and interest rates faced by borrowers, under the advisement of the International Monetary Fund’s Monetary and Capital Markets Division. Mr. Okamoto earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, with an emphasis in Computer Information Systems.
Dennis de Tray
Dr. de Tray began his career at the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica CA. After 12 years at Rand he moved to the World Bank in Washington D.C. where he stayed for 23 years. During his tenure at the Bank, de Tray held multiple positions around the world, ranging from Latin America and the Dominican Republic, to Indonesia, and eventually navigating his way to Central Asia and Kazakhstan where he was Country Director for the five Central Asia Republics.
He was also World Bank Country Director for Indonesia, stationed in Jakarta from July 1997-March 1999, a turbulent time in the country’s history. On leaving the Bank in 2006, Dennis worked at several Washington-based think tanks, including the Center for Global Development and the Results for Development Institute. In 2008 he left these organizations to consult full time, mainly for the government of Kazakhstan and the U.S. Department of Defense.
Dr. de Tray received a PhD in Economics from the University of Chicago in 1971.