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As World Bank president Robert Zoellick prepares to step down from his position in June, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s Finance Minister prepares to run for his position. According to Global Post, her candidacy is a landmark challenge from emerging nations on the US hold over the international organization. If selected, she would be the first African to head the World Bank.

One source told AFP that Okonjo-Iweala is “an extremely serious candidacy: she is a woman, black, minister of finance and is a well-known person at the World Bank.” Okonjo-Iweala is a respected economist and diplomat.  She is also a former World Bank managing director. Her nomination is backed by Nigeria, South Africa and Angola. South Africa’s Finance Minister Pravin Godhan stood by her at a press conference to announce the country’s support.

“We believe the candidature of minister Okonjo-Iweala enables those that are going to make these decisions in Washington to have before them an eminently qualified individual who can balance the needs of both developed and developing countries, and also provide a new vision and a sense of mission to the World Bank,” he said at the press conference.

“She has eminent academic qualifications and would be the candidate of choice, not just for the African continent but beyond as well.”

While Brazil has nominated Colombian Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo, in a statement the country added that it believed both are great candidates.

The World Bank has been headed by a US president since its creation after World War II. The US possesses the majority of votes and enough European support needed to place another American in the role. Although the US has not yet named its candidate, the Obama administration says it will select one by 6 pm on Friday, which is the deadline for nomination submission.

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