Obama backs public health expert for World Bank top job

Jim Yong Kim, 52, a Korean American was nominated as the head of the World Bank by Barack Obama on Friday. Kim is president of Dartmouth College and also a former director at the World Health Organization. Robert Zoellick, the current President steps down at the end of June.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Finance Minister of Nigeria and former Colombian finance minister Jose Antonio Ocampo were also nominated but the candidate backed by US is expected to win. Obama said that Kim had worked from major countries, capitals and small towns. He also added if anyone is willing to work hard and lookout for others, they can go any distance. The World Bank Presidency in the past has had many candidates from political circles and this nomination comes as a surprise.

Okonjo-Iweala, economist and diplomat, will be supported by emerging countries like Angola, Nigeria and South Africa in order to have the bank’s focus more on their economic growth than poverty-fighting. Another nominee, Jose Antonio Ocampo, was nominated by Brazil to overturn the tradition of having an American as President. “It is not a slam dunk. It is not an obvious choice,” said Arvind Subramanian, a former IMF official about the US nomination. He also said there will also be assessments of merits of the candidates, debates and the direction of the bank’s focus.

 

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