Viewpoint: The incoming World Bank president should be committed to global development goals

Friday, January 18, 2019

By Maria Jose Romero and Cecilia Gondard

When Harvard-trained global health leader Jim Yong Kim took office as World Bank President in 2012many thought he would put locally-anchored sustainable development and accountability at the centre of the World Bank’s approach.

However, a critical look at his tenure, and the role he is about to take up, raises many red flags. Now that most headline news is about the role Ivanka Trump will play, who the US nominates, and the timeframe for nominations – which kicks off in three weeks – it is crucial to think about who needs to be at the helm of the World Bank for the institution to serve its development mandate? And what kind of process, and eventually president, will serve to raise the legitimacy of the institution?

Kim’s departure has been a surprise for many. But the fact that he will join Global Infrastructure Partners, a private equity fund based in New York with links with the Cayman Islands, is subject to heavy criticism. It highlights the potential conflict of interest implied in Kim’s support for private finance, and for infrastructure finance in particular, and exposes the way in which corporate players take an ever greater role in public policy formation.

Photo courtesy of Antony Tran.

Source: Public Finance International (link opens in a new window)