US choice Jim Yong Kim is new World Bank chief

Jim Yong Kim Dr Kim will take up his post on 1 July

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US nominee Jim Yong Kim has been chosen as the new president of the World Bank.

The Korean-American health expert is president of Dartmouth College in the US state of New Hampshire.

He faced a strong challenge for the post, which has traditionally gone to an American, from Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Dr Kim will succeed Robert Zoellick, serving a five-year term beginning on 1 July, the World Bank said in a statement.

Aged 52, Jim Yong Kim is a doctor lauded for his pioneering role in treating HIV/Aids and reducing the impact of tuberculosis in the developing world.

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the new president's background would be valuable in the role.

"His deep development background coupled with his dedication to forging consensus will help breathe new life into the World Bank's efforts to secure fast economic growth that is widely shared," Mr Geithner said in a statement.

And outgoing president Mr Zoellick added: "Jim has seen poverty and vulnerability first-hand, through his impressive work in developing countries.

"His rigorous, science-based drive for results will be invaluable for the World Bank Group as it modernises to better serve client countries in overcoming poverty."

Andrew Mitchell, UK international development secretary and a governor of the World Bank Group, said that "as the first development professional to head the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim's considerable experience will be vital as he leads it through its ambitious reform and modernisation programme".

Meanwhile, the bank hailed the selection process as competitive, saying that the challenge posed by Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, as well as by Colombian candidate Jose Antonio Ocampo, would benefit the institution in the long run.

The three candidacies had "enriched the discussion of the role of the president and of the World Bank Group's future direction", the World Bank said.

'New kind of leader'

By convention, the US has always held the top job at the World Bank since it was founded in 1944.


Once again the American candidate has got the job. But he is not in the traditional pattern; neither a politician nor a financier.

He is, as President Obama emphasised when he announced the nomination, a development professional. He is an expert on health issues in the developing world, especially HIV/Aids and tuberculosis.

Those issues are important at the Bank, but it does have a wider, economic development brief. Dr Kim does not have much of a track record in that area. Still, his admirers say he brings a real commitment to alleviating poverty and he is a great listener.

In fact, he was busy listening when his appointment was announced. He is in Peru hearing what one of the Bank's member countries wants from the agency he is about to lead.

The top job of its sister organisation, the International Monetary Fund, has also always gone to a European but there has been much pressure from emerging economies to open the processes of both organisations to competition.

This year's vote was the first time the World Bank had to choose between candidates since its creation more than 60 years ago.

Mr Ocampo announced on Friday that he was withdrawing from the race and supporting Ms Okonjo-Iweala.

The World Bank did not provide details of the final vote or which country had backed which candidate.

Dr Kim will oversee a staff of 9,000 economists and development experts, and a loan portfolio that hit $258bn (£163bn) last year.

Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington suggested Dr Kim would make a very different kind of leader.

"There's just no comparison between him and any of the prior World Bank presidents," he said.

"The others were political insiders. They spent most of their lives getting rich or becoming politically powerful, or worse. Kim, by contrast, has spent most of his life trying to improve the lives of poor people."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    A perfect choice considering that he had distinguished himself in worthy projects related to poverty reduction and disease eradication. His track record made him a strong favourite. Of course the support of America tipped the balance in his favour. He fitted the bill perfectly. Opposing him because he was America's nominee would have been churlish and inappropriate! His has excellent credentials.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    53 Minutes ago

    People should take more money from China and less from World Bank

    Pay attention to the news. China's equivalent of the World Bank (which should be called the US Bank) already provides millions more in "aid" and grants to developing countries than the World Bank does.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    WB & IMF are there to Protect Shareholders(Indus West).Their mandate is to Launder 'paper' into money via Trade(Kadhafi wanted Gold for Oil & had to die),Fgn Aid also launders 'paper',100% must be spent in Donor Countries-mostly on Consultants.After Tsunami every man,woman & child in Andeman,Nicobar Is received Cell Phones while sleeping on the ground during Monsoon season. Look at Haiti.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    Great decision. Congratulations to the Board of Directors of the World Bank. What people are forgetting is that the US contributes about 60% to the World Bank's Budget. And as the saying goes, It is the GOLDEN RULE, he who has the gold makes the rule. The US has the right to select a candidate of her choice. Great choice.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    World Bank chiefs 1946-2012 all from USA
    IMF chiefs (managing director) 1946-2012 all from Europe
    The game is rigged....

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    As a Nigerian myself, I wouldn't allow national patriotism to becloud my sense of judgement. The right and most credible candidate got the job. The Nigerian finance minister is nothing but a failure with unsustainable economic ideas. Fix your country first if you are that good. Good luck Jim Yong Kim.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    THE WORLD BANK? Crikey, silly me didn't even know there was such an organisation. They appear to offer great job opportunities with great pensions and perks on their website.

    The IMF offers the same too. As does the UN, UNICEF, UNESCO, WHO, ECB, AFRICAN UNION, and other global quangoes too numerous to mention?

    Haven't all these chaps done well for themselves while they 'advance' humanity?

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    @ Jack99 His Nigerian challenger is a SHE and not HE. It just shows you did not read the article. By the way if this election was based on merit and not politics she will beat Dr. Kim (all due respect to him). There are decent hard working people from Nigeria too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    I thought he'd died...

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    Predictably, World Bank president position goes to an American again. While the selection was said to have been relatively opened & competitive for first time in 60yrs, it may take 5-10yrs before someone other than an American is selected. Ms Iweala have made Africa and indeed Nigeria, proud having being a serious contender. Qualification, not nationality should be the ultimate deciding factor.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    This officially begins 2nd round of Monetary Fund Wars.1st round for an African Monetary Fund saw Kadhafi killed in his own Country,but China finished his dream for an AU by Building, Equipping & Donating it's HQ.
    BRICS announced an Alt to IMF & WB citing those as Unfriendly and Biased to Developing World's Interests. Interesting times ahead.

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    Why was Gordon Brown not considered for this job?

    He had an exceptional track record.


  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    I wonder if my bank will employ my best mate as their new bank manager. That would be handy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    What would you do, Dear HYS contributor, if you were the new Head of the World Bank? Please nominate your best schemes. Here are mine:

    1) Bridge across the Red Sea from Sudan/Eritrea to Saudi Arabia.
    2) Trans-Africa Highways. 1 x North-South & 1 x East West
    3) Gibralter-Africa Bridge
    4) Sea Water desalination grants
    5) Plastic Pipe Exstrusion factory grants to carry water, waste, cables

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    The reason that most parts of the World is in recession is due to the World's Banks. I don't believe for one minute that they take money from the rich country's and give it to the poor without charging interest!! The World Bank is just another "Money Making Machine", only on a larger scale. I hope they see the errors of they way and help us out of this recession, time will tell.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    Monkey see Monkey do

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    @20.A Realist

    Show me a western democracy that hasn't squandered billions of tax payers revenue.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    His challenger was from Nigeria? What was he basing this on, that we would elect him because we had 10 billion in uncashed checks that he would process for us, if we sent him a fee?

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    The credentials of the newly elected World Bank president are not pointing to resolving the cause of our global economic upheaval, but continuing the same. Bank institutions are the main culprit in channelling money to the elite few... 99/1%, ponzi scheming. They are the blind leading the blind they creating catch 22 phenomenon to confuse the public. Google “The World Monetary Order”.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Looks to me like a lightly disguised Ken Yong Livingstone.
    David Cleary


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