World Bank ex-chief says power heading east

HONG KONG, Sept 21, 2007 (AFP) – The former president of the World Bank said Friday that rich countries were ill-prepared to deal with the “tectonic shift” in economic power towards developing nations, in particular to India and China. James Wolfensohn said rich nations still treated major developing nations with a “colonial” attitude and had not fully understood the way the power had moved eastward as a result of economic expansion.

“The leadership in the developed world, and people who should know better, still have not adjusted to the fact that this is not just a modest change in global economic power and influence, but a tectonic shift,” he told a financial forum in Hong Kong.

“If you look at the developed world and how it is addressing this change, the steps that are being taken are relatively trivial,” he said.

Wolfensohn said that while developing countries made up just 10 percent of global GDP in 1950, they will make up 65 percent of the total by 2050.

Spectacular growth in China will see the Asian giant overtake the United States as the world’s richest country by 2040, with India in third place by 2050, he said.

Wolfensohn said power was already shifting away from developing countries and cited the exa