World Bank chief to fight for sec­ond term

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

WORLD Bank chief Jim Yong Kim will seek a sec­ond term of of­fice, the global de­vel­op­ment lender said as it an­nounced the start of a se­lec­tion process for the pres­i­dency.

Mr Kim’s bid to re­main as pres­i­dent comes in the face of a rare pub­lic re­buke from the Bank’s rankand-file, who this month de­clared that the in­sti­tu­tion faced a “cri­sis of lead­er­ship”.

“The ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tors ex­pressed unan­i­mous sup­port for an open, merit-based and trans­par­ent se­lec­tion, with nom­i­na­tions open to all mem­ber coun­tries,” the ex­ec­u­tive board said.

Mr Kim’s five-year term ends on June 30 next year.

Fol­low­ing an un­writ­ten rule, the United States, the Bank’s largest share­holder, has al­ways cho­sen its pres­i­dent, while the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund leader has been drawn from Europe.

The World Bank staff as­so­ci­a­tion said in an open let­ter on Au­gust 8 that this tra­di­tion flew in the face of prin­ci­ples of transparency, di­ver­sity and merit-based se­lec­tion, given that the process had al­ways se­lected an Amer­i­can man.

The ex­ec­u­tive board said Mr Kim had been se­lected in 2012 ac­cord­ing to new prin­ci­ples meant to en­sure an “open and trans­par­ent” process and the next pres­i­dent would be as well.

Mr Kim was the first Amer­i­can can­di­date to face com­pe­ti­tion when Nige­rian Fi­nance Min­is­ter Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala also con­tended for the pres­i­dency then.

The lat­est se­lec­tion process be­gins at mid­night to­day, launch­ing a three­week win­dow for nom­i­na­tions.

Mr Kim’s cur­rent term is not due to ex­pire for more than 10 months, mean­ing the pend­ing se­lec­tion process be­gins sig­nif­i­cantly ear­lier than the pre­vi­ous one, which was con­ducted and con­cluded in the quar­ter prior to Mr Kim tak­ing of­fice.

A med­i­cal doc­tor and for­mer pres­i­dent of Dart­mouth Col­lege, Mr Kim was the first Bank pres­i­dent not to be drawn from the fi­nan­cial or po­lit­i­cal worlds.

Af­ter tak­ing of­fice in 2012, Mr Kim an­nounced a new goal of erad­i­cat­ing ex­treme poverty by 2030 and a sweep­ing in­ter­nal re­or­gan­i­sa­tion to fos­ter col­lab­o­ra­tion across the Bank.

How­ever, the re­forms ap­pear to have alien­ated many staff mem­bers, who in em­ployee sur­veys have re­ported feel­ing de­tached from se­nior man­age­ment and un­sure of the di­rec­tion of pol­icy.

The Bank cur­rently faces ques­tions about its con­tin­u­ing rel­e­vance on the world stage as de­vel­op­ing coun­tries can now turn to a grow­ing num­ber of other lenders – such as the Asian In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ment Bank, founded at China’s ini­tia­tive, which held its first an­nual meet­ing in June. –

Photo: EPA

Jim Yong Kim’s term ends on June 30 next year.

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