World Bank President Jim Yong Kim resigns

Leroy Wright
January 8, 2019

The bank president has traditionally been an American chosen by the us administration, but some of the multilateral lender's 189 member countries could mount a new challenge with alternative candidates.

Kristalina Georgieva, the chief executive of the World Bank, will take over as interim president when he departs. But in April, the lender won support from its member countries for a $13 billion capital increase, after the US dropped its objections.

The World Bank committed almost $US64 billion in loans to developing countries in the fiscal year ended June 30 last year.

The reason for Kim's early departure from the role remains unclear.

Naming Kim's replacement could mark a sharp break with the past as the Trump administration has repeatedly broken with multilateral institutions and conventions of which Trump himself has been highly critical.

Under Kim's leadership, the bank set the goal of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030 and ramped up financing.

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CNN noted that the Trump administration has enjoyed a close relationship with World Bank, with Ivanka Trump working to create a women's initiative with the global lender and the president himself referring to Kim as a "friend" and a "great guy".

Kim's permanent successor will be decided by the World Bank's board of directors.

The president's national-security adviser, John Bolton, wrote an article in 2016 in which he cited arguments for privatizing the World Bank, while Treasury Undersecretary for International Affairs David Malpass has questioned why the bank lends so much money to China when the nation already has access to global financial markets.

Under an unwritten rule, the bank's presidency has always been anointed by its largest shareholder, the United States, an arrangement that also allowed European powers to name the head of the International Monetary Fund.

"I might have even appointed him", Trump said of the Korean-born and Iowa-raised leader at the 2017 G20 summit in Germany, "but I didn't". He has a medical degree and a PhD in anthropology from Harvard University.

On Twitter, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde expressed "deep appreciation" for Kim's work.

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