Sachs says nominated for World Bank president

American economist Jeffrey Sachs has said, he has been officially nominated to head the World Bank by at least one of the countries that has publicly supported him.

Sachs, speaking to AFP one week before the World Bank's deadline for nominations, declined to name his official backers.

"It's been confirmed to me that my name has been put officially into nomination by one or more of the governments that has publicly endorsed my candidacy," the world-renowned economist said in a phone interview yesterday.

Sachs, 57, is the director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University and a special adviser to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals.

Sachs sidestepped a question about whether he has support from the BRICS emerging powerhouses -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, saying "in three regions a government that supports me" will mobilise support in the region.

Support on the home front came yesterday, in the form of a letter that 27 Democrats in the House of Representatives wrote to Obama pressing for his nomination.

"I'm very, very moved and very honoured," Sachs said. "These are members of Congress whom I respect enormously, really admire."

He has devoted his wide-ranging career to ending extreme poverty, and has worked for decades in poverty alleviation projects around the world.

That has helped him garner endorsements from Bhutan, East Timor, Haiti, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia and Namibia.

The World Bank declined to comment on his claim, noting the Board had stipulated that a short list of up to three candidates would be released only after considering names submitted by the March 23 deadline.

In early March Sachs announced he wanted to succeed World Bank president Robert Zoellick, who is stepping down when his term ends in June.

"Unlike previous World Bank presidents, I don't come from Wall Street or US politics," he declared in announcing his candidacy on March 2.

"I am a practitioner of economic development, a scholar and a writer. My track record is to side with the poor and hungry, not with a corporate balance sheet or a government. Yet the solutions work for all -- the poor, companies, governments and the rest of us -- by creating a more prosperous, healthy and secure world."

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