April 5, 2012 / 3:22 PM / 5 years ago

Brazil wants BRICS united in World Bank choice

Brazil's Finance Minister Guido Mantega leaves the Ministry of Finance, after meeting with Jim Yong Kim, the U.S. nominee for the next World Bank president at the Ministry Finance in Brasilia April 5, 2012.Ueslei Marcelino

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil is working for emerging economic powers to jointly support a candidate to lead the World Bank as developing nations seek to bolster their say at the global lender, Finance Minister Guido Mantega said on Thursday.

Mantega met earlier on Thursday with the U.S. nominee for the top post Jim Yong Kim, who he said showed vast experience with the developing world. However, he reiterated that Brazil has not yet made up its mind.

"By late next week Brazil should have a position on the matter and I will talk with the other BRICS," Mantega told reporters in Brasilia. "We are working for the BRICS to have a joint position."

Besides Brazil, the BRICS group includes China, Russia, India and South Africa. The group has called for "a merit based process" to pick the next head of the World Bank.

Mantega said Kim has expressed he wants to continue with the reforms at the World Bank that increases the representation of emerging-market nations.

Kim, a Korean-American physician and anthropologist, is on a world tour to seek support for his candidacy against two contenders from the emerging-market world. He has already secured support from Japan, and is expected to gather the backing of Europe to win the race.

Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and former Colombian Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo are vying for the top job at the world lender.

A U.S. citizen has headed the World Bank since it was created after World War Two.

But developing nations are challenging that tradition and are seeking more influence in global institutions that reflects their growing economic strength.

Mantega said he still needs to meet with Okonjo-Iweala and Ocampo, whom he described as great candidates.

Brazil nominated Ocampo in the name of the Dominican Republic, one of its constituents as member of a the World Bank board. Officials in Brasilia have said that nomination does not mean support for Ocampo.

A decision on a new leader for the poverty-fighting organization is expected to be announced by the time the World Bank and its sister organization, the International Monetary Fund, hold semiannual meetings in Washington on April 20-22.

Reporting by Luciana Otoni; Writing by Alonso Soto; Editing by W Simon

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