World Bank - Dr Jim Yong Kim

World Bank - Dr Jim Yong Kim

Pretoria – Newly appointed World Bank president Dr Jim Yong Kim will seek a new alignment of the World Bank group with a rapidly changing world.

The bank announced on Monday that it had selected the Korean-American global health expert to become its next president following the resignation of Robert Zoellick, whose term ends in June.

“As president, I will seek a new alignment of the World Bank Group with a rapidly changing world. Together, with partners old and new, we will foster an institution that responds effectively to the needs of its diverse clients and donors; delivers more powerful results to support sustained growth; prioritises evidence-based solutions over ideology; amplifies the voices of developing countries; and draws on the expertise and experience of the people we serve,” he said.

He expressed delight at his appointment, saying it was an honour.

“I am honoured to accept the Executive Directors’ decision to select me as the next president of the World Bank Group. I am delighted to succeed Robert Zoellick, who has served with excellence and distinction during the last five years, and I am grateful to the bank’s member countries for the broad support I have received.”

The 53-year-old’s five-year term at the Washington- based organisation will begin on 1 July.

It was expected that a US candidate would get the post. Since the establishment of the body in the 40s, the presidency has always gone to a US candidate.

Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who had the backing of the African continent, was the only other candidate for the job after Brazilian nominated professor at Columbia University Jose Antonio Ocampo pulled out of the race on Friday.

The 12th incoming president, Jim Yong Kim, said he wanted to draw on the expertise of Okonjo-Iweala and Professor Ocampo.

Zoellick said he would be pleased to work with Jim Yong Kim during the transition.

“He is an impressive and accomplished individual. 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 modernizes to better serve client countries in overcoming poverty,” he said.

Speaking to reporters on Monday ahead of the decision, South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said the transparency of the selection process was being questioned.

“From what I’m hearing there’s serious concerns about transparency,” said Gordhan, also linking it to whether the process had been a merit-based one.

“I think we’re going to find that the process falls short of that. The world will be waiting to see whether the World Bank has improved its legitimacy [and] has broadened its base of participation in the terms of the kinds of candidates it will entertain,” explained the minister. – BuaNews