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World Bank: Ex-Mastercard boss nominated

Image Source: Bloomberg

US President Joe Biden chose Ajay Banga, an Indian-American businessman, to lead the World Bank.

The US is pushing the bank harder to pay more attention to fighting climate change.

Mr. Banga ran Mastercard for over a decade and now works in private equity.

US officials said he had enough experience to work with the private sector to help the bank reach its goals.

The board will choose the bank’s next official leader.

‘Force multiplier’

On Wednesday, the bank said that it would interview up to three finalists and pick a new leader by the beginning of May. It said that women should definitely run for office.

It needs to be clear whether other countries will have different ideas.

Since the US has the most shares in the World Bank, it has always been in charge of picking the person in charge of the group, which lends billions of dollars to countries every year.

Janet Yellen, who was in charge of the Treasury, wanted the World Bank to be a “force multiplier for good” by making good plans.

She said that Mr. Banga was “uniquely” qualified to do this job because he had previously made partnerships between governments, businesses, and non-profits.

Mr. Banga was born in India and is now a citizen of the United States. He started his career in India, where his father was an officer in the army.

He worked at Nestle and Citigroup before joining Mastercard.

Mr. Banga left the company in 2021 and is now a vice chairman at General Atlantic, a private equity firm, serving on the advisory board of its $3.5bn climate fund.

He has also worked with the White House as co-chair of the Partnership for Central America, which tries to stop people from coming to the US by getting more private investment in the area.

Amanda Glassman, the executive vice president of the Center for Global Development, said that Mr. Banga’s many years in business could help Congress, especially Republicans, who often criticize international organizations, to trust the bank.

But she said it was too soon to say if he was the right choice because he needed more experience with government and development work, which is at the heart of what the bank does.

She said that the CGD is eager to hear his ideas about what the bank should be like.

Whoever becomes the next head of the bank will have to deal with the challenge of trying to meet the immediate financial needs of low-income countries, many of which are in the middle of debt crises, while also shifting to deal with things like climate change, global conflict, and pandemic risks without clear extra money on the table.

Ms. Glassman said that the next step of the World Bank’s strategy is very important. Now is a time when the World Bank can either step up and become more important or sit back and become less important.

She said that even though everyone agrees that the bank needs to change, not everyone agrees on how, and people are worried about finding the right balance.

If Mr. Banga is approved, he will replace David Malpass. Former US President Donald Trump chose Mr. Malpass. He said this month that he would step down by June, which is almost a year before the end of his five-year term.

People who care about the environment criticized him for not using the bank’s resources to fight climate change quickly enough.

Last year, when he said he didn’t know if fossil fuels were causing climate change, the White House called him on it. He later said that he felt bad about what he had said.

David Malpass: World Bank leader steps down

In June, the president of the World Bank will quit his job, leaving the organization almost a year before the end of his term.

David Malpass said he was leaving on social media but didn’t say why.

Even though Trump chose him, people have said that he doesn’t believe in climate change.

Last year, when he said he didn’t know if fossil fuels were making climate change, the White House told him to shut up.

He later said that he felt bad about what he had said.

Mr. Malpass started his five-year term in April 2019. Before that, he worked at the US Department of Treasury for the Trump administration.

In a statement, Mr. Malpass said he was proud of what he had done at the bank, giving billions of dollars to developing countries annually.

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He also said that under his leadership, financing had reached new heights, “including financing for climate change.”

Opinions expressed by The Wall Street Times contributors are their own.