Former Colombian finance minister Jose Anotonio Ocampo ended his campaign to become president of the World Bank president to support Nigeria’s Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in a contest he said had turned highly political.
The race for the World Bank presidency is now between two candidates- Okonjo-Iweala, a former World Bank managing director, and U.S. nominee Jim Yong Kim, a Korean-American health expert.
On Monday, the board of the World Bank will pick a new president to replace Robert Zoellick, who is departing in June.
Ocampo was nominated by Brazil. But his own country Colombia failed to support him, choosing to focus on a bid for the presidency of the International Labor Organization, where it seemingly has a greater chance of success.
"It is clear that the process is shifting from a strict merit-based competition, in which my candidacy stood on strong grounds, into a more political-oriented exercise," he said in a statement, according to Reuters.
"In this process, I stand on weaker grounds due to the lack of open support from the government of my home country, Colombia," he added.
Ocampo, the director of economic and political development at Columbia University in New York, hopes emerging-market nations would join him to support the Nigerian Finance Minister who is now the sole candidate from developing nations.
He said he was rallying behind Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, “to facilitate the desired unity of the emerging and developing economies around one candidate.”