World Bank sanctions Serbian company

The World Bank has sanctioned a Serbian company for corruption related to a roads project in Uganda:

The World Bank Group today announced the debarment of Energoprojekt Niskogradnja, a Serbian civil engineering and contracting company - for a period of 2.5 years following the company’s acknowledgment of misconduct in a Bank-financed roads and development project in Uganda.

Uganda has been the focus of other recent revelations regarding the misuse of international aid funds. For the Bank, the sanctions are the latest in a string of anti-corruption investigations related to the implementation of its projects. In November, the Bank unveiled an "Integrity App" that allows observers to anonymously report on corruption concerns.

The Multilateralist

ASEAN gets a new chief

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) gets a new secretary general this month. Vietnam's Le Luong Minh takes over leadership of the organization from Thailand's Surin Pitsuwan, who served a five-year term.

The right to nominate secretaries-general rotates within the organization, and it was Vietnam's turn to select the organization's leader. In Minh, Hanoi has selected a diplomat with considerable experience in the multilateral realm. He served as Vietnam's United Nations ambassador for seven years (during that time, Vietnam served a two-year stint on the Security Council). Minh has also been posted to Geneva, where he interacted with UN agencies headquartered there as well as the World Trade Organization.

Pitsuwan led ASEAN through a tumultous several years, which included heightened tension with China over the South China Sea and Myanmar's political tranformation. Many of those reading the tea leaves anticipate a more restrained form of ASEAN diplomacy from the Vietnamese diplomat, particularly on the South China Sea. Via Voice of America:

For an argument that Minh has big shoes to fill, see this article in the Jakarta Globe