Robert B. Zoellick

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Robert B. Zoellick was appointed president of the World Bank in 2007 after the resignation of Paul Wolfowitz.

In July 1, 2007, Robert B. Zoellick became the 11th President of the World Bank Group, which works with 185 member countries.

Prior to joining the Bank, Mr. Zoellick served as Vice Chairman, International of the Goldman Sachs Group, Managing Director, and Chairman of Goldman Sachs' Board of International Advisors from 2006-07.

In 2005-06, Mr. Zoellick served as the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. State Department. He was the Department's Chief Operating Officer and policy alternate for the Secretary of State, in addition to having lead policy responsibility in a number of areas.

From 2001 to January 2005, Mr. Zoellick served in the U.S. cabinet as the 13th U.S. Trade Representative. He forged an activist approach to free trade at the global, regional, and bilateral levels, while securing support for open markets with the U.S. Congress and a broad coalition of domestic constituencies. He worked with Ministers from nearly 150 economies to launch the Doha Development Agenda in the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001 and then to complete the framework accord for opening markets in 2004. Zoellick was instrumental in completing the accession of China and Chinese Taipei to the WTO. He also completed or substantially advanced the accessions to the WTO of Cambodia, Saudi Arabia, Viet Nam, Russia, and others.

Zoellick enacted or completed FTAs with Jordan, Chile, Singapore, Morocco, Bahrain, five countries of Central America and the Dominican Republic, and Australia, quintupling the number of countries with which the U.S. has FTAs. He also launched FTAs later completed with Peru, Colombia, and Panama, and enacted a Basic Trade Agreement with Viet Nam. Zoellick worked closely with the U.S. Congress to pass Trade Promotion Authority, as well as preferential trade arrangements with Africa, the Andean countries, Caribbean states, and all developing economies.

From 1993 to 1997, Mr. Zoellick served as an Executive Vice President of Fannie Mae, the large housing finance corporation, where he supervised the affordable housing business, as well as offices dealing with legal, regulatory, government and industry relations, and international services.

From 1985 to 1993, Mr. Zoellick served with Secretary James A. Baker, III at the Treasury Department (from Deputy Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions Policy to Counsellor to the Secretary); State Department (Undersecretary of State for Economic and Agricultural Affairs as well as Counsellor of the Department with Undersecretary rank); and briefly Deputy Chief of Staff at the White House and Assistant to the President. Zoellick was the lead U.S. official in the "Two-plus-Four" process of German unification in 1989-90. He was the "Sherpa" to the President for the preparation of the Economic Summits in 1991-92.[1]

Zoellick outlined his aim at the beginning of his term as being to ensure that the G8 group of nations "translate" their pledges of financial support to the poorest nations into "serious numbers".[2] Other key goals included improving access to HIV and Malaria drugs in Africa, and taking a stronger stance on trade and environmental issues.[3]

One critic, Paul Zeitz, Executive Director of the Global AIDS Alliance, called Zoellick a "terrible choice" for World Bank president:

Zoellick has no significant experience in economic development in poor countries ... He has been a close friend to the brand-name pharmaceutical industry, and the bilateral trade agreements he has negotiated effectively block access to generic medication for millions of people.[4]

So while Zoellick has made better access to medicines one of his main goals, he was involved in the very agreements which caused the problem to begin with.


  1. The World Bank Website Office of the President Biography, Accessed on 9th March 2008
  2. BBC News Website Zoellick sets out World Bank aims, 11 October 2007, Accessed on 9th March 2008
  3. BBC News Website Zoellick sets out World Bank aims, 11 October 2007, Accessed on 9th March 2008
  4. BBC News Website U.S. nominates new World Bank chief, 30 May 2007, Accessed on 9th March 2008