April 17th, 2012
01:45 PM GMT
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CNN, Hong Kong - The World Bank race has been run and won – and no surprises for guessing the winner.

That was clear months ago when the U.S. backed Europe's nomination of Christine Lagarde for the top job at the International Monetary Fund. It ensured the Europeans would back the U.S. at the World Bank.

But the cozy days of you-scratch-my-back-if-I-scratch-yours are numbered. And not before time.

Former Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is claiming, if not victory, then success. Success in breaching the IMF-World Bank club for insiders. Never again will a European be chosen for the IMF or an American for the World Bank without a rigorous test based on merit.

Whether Mr Kim is the best or most qualified for the job will remain a debate. But what is clear is that Ngozo Okonjo-Iweala was equally well-equipped to lead the bank.

As the 21th century becomes increasingly a story of the developing world, the Bretton Woods institutions have been put on notice in clear terms: no more deal-making and a lot more transparency. Those days belong to an era when the U.S. and Europe ruled the economic world. Those days are coming to an end.



April 17th, 2012
11:46 AM GMT
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(CNN) – For the first time in three years, India has cut interest rates in the face of flagging economic growth. In the year that ended on March 31, Asia’s third largest economy grew 6.9% – its slowest in three years.

India announced it would cut interest rates by 50 basis points. A 25-point cut had been widely predicted. This takes the subcontinent’s lending rate down from 8.5% to 8%. The hope is that lower interest rates will lower prices and allow more money into India’s economy – thereby encouraging growth.

Right now, signs of sluggishness are easy to spot.
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