Monday, April 16, 2012

World Bank Officially Selects Kim As President- Ngozi Okonjo Iweala Lost

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The World Bank on Monday named Jim Yong Kim, a global health expert and the president of Dartmouth College, as its next president in a widely expected appointment that continues the longstanding tradition of an American leading the Washington-based development institution.
Jim Yong Kim was named the next president of the World Bank, and will replace Robert B. Zoellick at the end of June.

Dr. Kim, 52, will take over at the beginning of July, after the current president, Robert B. Zoellick, steps down at the end of his five-year term.

While the selection of Dr. Kim by the bank's 25-member executive board was no surprise, the board had, for the first time, considered more than one candidate, a reflection of the increasing clout of emerging-market nations on the global stage.

Numerous African countries had rallied around Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Nigerian finance minister and former World Bank managing director. José Antonio Ocampo, the former Colombian central banker and United Nations official, was also a candidate.

Ms. Okonjo-Iweala and Mr. Ocampo always faced long odds, given the composition of the World Bank board: Europe, the United States and Japan control about half of the voting shares. But their candidacies reignited a debate over Washington’s continued control of the institution.

The bank itself has granted more power recently to countries like China, Brazil and India, as these cash-rich and fast-growing economies are called on to finance development programs and multilateral institutions, not just to receive financing from them. In 2010, the World Bank increased the relative voting share of emerging economies. It also committed to an open, transparent and merit-based presidential selection process.

But those trends have not yet resulted in a non-American rising to the top of the organization. Traditionally, an American oversees the World Bank, which finances a wide variety of private and public development projects, while a European heads the International Monetary Fund.

After the White House nominated Dr. Kim in March, he went on an around-the-world “listening tour” to rally support for his candidacy. Dr. Kim won the support of countries including Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Japan and Russia.

In a recent interview, Dr. Kim stressed that he wanted to make the bank as inclusive as possible, while achieving its mission of eradicating poverty and supporting economic development.

He also said he wanted to make the bank’s programs more data-driven. “There’s no one-size-fits-all. There’s no big idea that will lead to economic growth for everybody,” he said. “I think we must be evidence-based and evidence-driven, and we must pay attention to local contexts.”

Dr. Kim is a lauded global health expert, a physician and anthropologist by training. He is a founder of Partners In Health, a nonprofit that runs community-focused health programs in poor countries. He also worked at Harvard University and the World Health Organization, where he spearheaded a program to deliver antiretroviral treatments to people living with H.I.V./AIDS. Since 2009, he has been the president of Dartmouth College.

The World Bank board made its decision in advance of its spring meetings, held jointly with the International Monetary Fund later this week.
Source:  NY TIMES

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