New World Bank president takes office

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and new World Bank President Indian-American Ajay Banga in Washington on June 1, 2023 (AFP/Jim WATSON)

The new president of the World Bank (WB), the Indo-American Ajay Banga, officially took office on Friday, succeeding David Malpass, who left the day before as head of the institution, it was reported. learned from close sources.

The only declared candidate, Mr. Banga, former president of the Mastercard payment system group, was elected without surprise in early May.

If Ajay Banga is the second WB leader not to be born in the United States, after Jim Yong Kim, born in South Korea but raised in Iowa, he is the first not to be from a American university, having studied and started his career in his country of origin, India.

This arrival takes place in a context of ongoing reforms of the institution, which already announced last March an increase in its funding of five billion dollars per year over the next ten years.

The content of the reforms should be known at the next annual meeting of the WB and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which will be held next October in Marrakech (Morocco).

The institution is particularly expected on its ability to strengthen its efforts to help finance the fight against global warming. Some States, especially among the least developed, fear that this will be done to the detriment of the fight against poverty,

The outgoing president of the WB, David Malpass, for his part, expressed himself, via a publication on his LinkedIn profile on Thursday, taking stock of his action, recalling in particular “the rapid response of the WB to the chain of global crises , with the mobilization of 440 billion dollars”.

“During my mandate, the WB also doubled funding in response to global warming in developing countries, with a record amount of 32 billion dollars”, he also recalled.

David Malpass finally underlined the “huge honor” of having been at the head of the institution, thanking “the staff and the board of directors for the privilege of having been able to work together”.

Although appreciated internally, in particular by the employees of the institution, David Malpass has never completely silenced the critics outside, in particular on his supposed disinterest in climate issues.

The subject came back to the fore last September when, questioned by a journalist from the New York Times during a public event, Mr. Malpass had not wanted to recognize that human activities were the main cause of global warming. climatic.

If he then affirmed it on several occasions, this hesitation contributed to reinforcing his image of climatosceptic, put forward in particular by the former American vice-president, Al Gore.

© 2023 AFP

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