U.S. Should Expand Role With World Bank, Former Official Says

The U.S. needs to play a greater role in the World Bank to improve its perception in developing markets, according to Nancy Birdsall, president of the Washington-based Center for Global Development.

Emerging-market economies are making a bid for greater influence on the global financial system, with Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- the so-called BRICS nations -- agreeing on the structure of a $50 billion development bank in July. The bank offers an alternative source of financing to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

“The U.S. could be a better parent to the World Bank,” said Birdsall, speaking at a conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. “It’s a structural problem for the U.S. and the movement has to be away from benign-bully dad role to a little bit more consensus building.”

Birdsall, a former director of policy research at the World Bank, spoke at the hotel where officials from around the world met in 1944 to remodel the global financial system.

Leaders from the BRICS countries, whose economies are forecast to expand 5.27 percent this year, also formalized the creation of a $100 billion currency-exchange reserve, which member states can tap in case of balance of payment crises.