Monday, 16 April 2012

Kim gets World Bank Job, Okonjo Iweala Loses out

The World Bank’s directors met Monday to decide who will be the powerful institution’s next chief. Just as has been predicted, the US maintained its unbroken lock on the position, with the election of Korean-American physician Jim Yong Kim as its next chief.
It was a decision that surprised few despite the first-ever challenge to the US lock on the Bank’s presidency, by Nigeria’s finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala.
The Bank’s directors chose Kim, a 52 year old US health expert and educator, over Nigerian Okonjo-Iweala, who had argued that the huge lender needs reorientation under someone from the developing world.
Kim, 52 and currently president of the Ivy League University Dartmouth, will replace outgoing President Robert Zoellick, the former US diplomat who is departing in June at the end of his five-year term.
The Bank’s directors expressed “deep appreciation” to Kim, Okonjo-Iweala and a third candidate, Colombian economist Jose Antonio Ocampo, who pulled out of the race Friday.
“Their candidacies enriched the discussion of the role of the president and of the World Bank Group’s future direction,” the Bank said in a statement.
“The final nominees received support from different member countries, which reflected the high caliber of the candidates.”
Nevertheless, there had been little doubt about the choice of Kim, even as he breaks the pattern of American bankers and diplomats being named to lead the huge development bank.
By a longstanding pact Washington has chosen the head of the World Bank while Europe has held control of who leads its sister institution, the International Monetary Fund.