Robert Zoellick: a Poor Choice to Head the World Bank

Armen Hareyan's picture

Today President Bush selected Ambassador Robert Zoellick as his candidate to head the World Bank. Robert Zoellick is the former US Trade Representative.

Dr. Paul Zeitz, Executive Director of the Global AIDS Alliance responded:

"From a public health standpoint, Zoellick is a terrible choice for World Bank President. Zoellick has no significant experience in economic development in poor countries.

He has been a close friend to the brand-name pharmaceutical industry, and the bilateral trade agreements he has negotiated effectively block access to generic medication for millions of people. This is terrible for AIDS patients, most of whom cannot afford brand-name prices.

Currently, the World Bank allows countries to use its aid to purchase generic medications, and it has defended the right of countries, such as Thailand, to issue compulsory licenses to secure access to affordable medications. But, we fear this could change under Zoellick.

Zoellick, as a free market fundamentalist, seems unlikely to back the kind of flexible macroeconomic policy countries need to increase their health sector budgets in the face of the AIDS crisis.

As an early backer of US military action in Iraq, and as a former paid advisor to Enron, the infamous energy company, Zoellick brings significant baggage with him.

The other members of the World Bank Board should reject Robert Zoellick's candidacy." - Global AIDS Alliance

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