Jim Yong Kim, the U.S. nominee to head the World Bank, described himself as a good listener with no ideological approach, whose experience as Dartmouth College president would help safeguard the lender’s financial model.
“If elected, I would bring new leadership to this great institution,” Kim told the World Bank’s board of directors in prepared remarks for his job interview released by the Treasury Department in Washington. “You would find in me someone who asks hard questions about the status quo and is not afraid to challenge existing orthodoxies.”
Kim went on a two-week world tour to seek advice from officials from Ethiopia from Mexico and has already received an endorsement from countries including Canada and Japan. The U.S., the bank’s largest shareholder, has always picked the head of the institution in a tradition that is being challenged by rival candidates Nigeria’s Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Columbia University professor Jose Antonio Ocampo.
The new president, whose term is expected to start in July, will take over an institution that has become more of a technical adviser as the amount private investors pump into developing economies dwarfs the $57 billion in loans the bank made last fiscal year.
With his Dartmouth experience, Kim said he is well placed to help grow the World Bank’s role as a knowledge institution. As a physician and anthropologist, Kim said he has a “deep- seated commitment to evidence- and results-based solutions.”
A U.S. national born in Korea who has worked “on several continents,” Kim said he would offer “an effective bridge between different constituencies and their interests” and help build consensus within the 187-country World Bank.
-- Editor: Paul Badertscher, Gail DeGeorge
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