A group of Democratic lawmakers in the US Congress Friday pushed President Barack Obama to name renowned American economist Jeffrey Sachs as the next World Bank president.
Sachs, whose self-declared candidacy has drawn a number of endorsements from around the world, has the leadership skills for the job, 27 members of the House of Representatives said in a letter to Obama.
"When the member nations of the World Bank meet this spring to select the organization's next president, we strongly encourage you to nominate Professor Jeffrey Sachs," the lawmakers said in the letter.
"We believe that Professor Sachs has the experience, expertise, and bold vision for the future needed to lead the World Bank at this critical moment in history."
The letter to the Democratic president, dated March 15, was spearheaded by Representative John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat. A Conyers spokesman told AFP the letter was delivered to the White House Friday.
It pressed the White House to choose the development specialist as its nominee to replace outgoing president Robert Zoellick, the former US diplomat who will leave at the end of his term in June.
"The World Bank has often been headed by (a) career politician or a Wall Street banker, who has often lacked significant experience or expertise in international development policy," they wrote.
"In contrast, Professor Sachs is a development professional and a problem solver -- someone who has seen the destabilizing effects of poverty, famine, and resource scarcity first hand, and who has mobilized people and resources to do something about it."
Sachs is the director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and a special adviser to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and has worked for decades in poverty alleviation projects around the world.
The World Bank has said it plans to fill the post being vacated by Zoellick by the start of its spring meetings with the International Monetary Fund on April 20. Nominations are due on March 23.
By tradition, the United States has always put an American at the helm of the World Bank, while Europe selects a European to lead the IMF.
But emerging economies have loudly protested that status quo, demanding greater representation at the two Washington-based institutions.