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James Wolfensohn

Over the coming months, as the west turns its attention to Africa and development, the World Bank will get a new head after the spectacular ten-year reign of Jim Wolfensohn. Who is he? What is his legacy?

On a December day in 2003 at 6.30pm, the vehicles on West 57th Street in Manhattan faced more obstacles than usual. Outside the grand edifice of Carnegie Hall, the police had put up barriers that cut off one lane of the road. Cabs were stopping to disgorge distinguished passengers. They proceeded in their dinner jackets and furs up the steps, past policemen with stubby automatic guns, past footmen in red livery, and into a room filled with conversation and champagne and photographers. There were Paul Volcker and Alan Greenspan, who between them had run American monetary policy for the past…

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