World Bank Elects New President

World Bank Elects New President
Ajay Banga, World bank president-elect

The World Bank’s 25-member executive board on Wednesday elected former Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga to a five-year term as president, effective June 2, the bank said, ushering in an Indian-born finance and development expert charged with revamping the lender to tackle climate change and other global crises.

Banga, 63, was nominated for the post by United States President Joe Biden in late February and was the sole contender to replace departing World Bank chief David Malpass, an economist and former US Treasury official who served in the Trump administration.

Malpass, who faced criticism for his stance on climate change, with former US Vice President Al Gore labelling him a climate denier and climate activists calling for his resignation, announced earlier this year in February that he would step down in June, nearly a year earlier than his five-year term. Malpass’s last day at the bank will be June 1.

Banga’s election came after World Bank board members interviewed him for four hours on Monday. The decision came in a vote by 24 of the board’s members, with Russia abstaining, instead of the usual consensus-based process, a source familiar with the process said.

Biden congratulated Banga on his “resounding approval” to run the World Bank, which he described as “one of humanity’s most critical institutions to reduce poverty and expand prosperity around the globe”.

“Ajay Banga will be a transformative leader, bringing expertise, experience, and innovation to the position of World Bank president,” Biden said. “He will help steer the institution as it evolves and expands to address global challenges that directly affect its core mission of poverty reduction — including climate change.”

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