Emerging world seeks single candidate for World Bank: Ocampo

BRASILIA Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:08pm EDT

The World Bank presidential nominee Jose Antonio Ocampo of Colombia is seen during a meeting with Brazil's Finance Minsiter Guido Mantega at the Ministry of Finance in Brasilia April 12, 2012. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

The World Bank presidential nominee Jose Antonio Ocampo of Colombia is seen during a meeting with Brazil's Finance Minsiter Guido Mantega at the Ministry of Finance in Brasilia April 12, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino

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BRASILIA (Reuters) - Developing nations aim to back a single candidate to challenge the United States for the presidency of the World Bank, former Colombian finance minister Jose Antonio Ocampo said on Thursday, though he did not offer to stand aside in his bid for the job.

Ocampo met Brazil's Finance Minister Guido Mantega in the capital Brasilia as he seeks support from Latin America's top economy in a three-way race for the global lender's top seat.

Ocampo is running against Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and U.S. nominee Jim Yong Kim, a Korean-American health expert.

"We are all keeping an eye on how much support the United States has and also looking for ways to have a single candidate for developing nations," Ocampo told reporters in Brasilia.

Ocampo said he and Okonjo-Iweala have more experience and are better prepared than Kim to immediately take the top post.

When asked if he was planning to pull out of the race to back the Nigerian, Ocampo said "that's above me because this is a process that has to do with the ministers and they have to coordinate what position they will take."

Ocampo was referring to finance ministers for developing countries like Brazil who are likely to make a decision on a single candidate.

Brazil has said it wants emerging economic powers to join forces behind a single candidate as they clamor for a bigger say at the global lender.

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

Kim, known for treating tuberculosis and HIV in poor nations, has already secured support from Japan and Mexico. He is expected to garner the backing of Europe to win the race.

A decision on a new leader for the poverty-fighting organization is expected 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 Alonso Soto; Editing by Andrew Hay)

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